What can I do to take care of myself during radiation?

During radiation therapy, you need to take special care of yourself. Your doctor or nurse will give you tips on how to do this. But here are some basic things that you should do:

  • Get plenty of rest. You may feel more tired than normal. This can last for 4 to 6 weeks after your treatment ends, and sometimes longer.
  • Eat healthy foods. Your doctor, nurse, or dietitian may work with you to make sure you’re eating the right foods to get what your body needs. They may suggest changes to reduce side effects if your stomach or throat is in the area being treated.
  • Take care of the skin in the treatment area. Clean the skin each day with warm water and a mild soap that your nurse says is OK to use. Don’t use other products on the treatment area unless your doctor or nurse tells you it’s OK.
  • Tell your doctor about all medicines you are taking. If you take any medicines, even aspirin, herbs, or vitamins, let your doctor know before you start radiation.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: October 9, 2015 Last Revised: October 9, 2015

American Cancer Society medical information is copyrighted material. For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy.