NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Part 5: Treatment side effects
• Hair loss,
• Skin rash and/or itching,
• Other skin cancer (not melanoma),
• Sun sensitivity,
• Nausea and/or vomiting,
• Low blood cell counts,
• Swelling (edema), and
5.3 Side effects of radiation therapy
Side effects of radiation therapy depend on the dose and
the area of skin being treated. Most of the side effects
are temporary. For example, skin changes usually go
away within 6 to 12 months after completing treatment.
Common side effects of radiation therapy for melanoma
• Heaviness in radiated area,
• Sunburn-like skin changes,
• Fatigue, and
• Second cancer.
5.4 Symptom control
The focus of this booklet is on cancer treatments.
However, controlling treatment side effects is important
for your quality of life. It is important that you are aware
of and understand the possible side effects of each
treatment you receive. Don’t wait to tell your treatment
team about side effects. If you don’t tell your treatment
team, they may not know how you are feeling.
You should also consider taking part in your hospital’s
system for tracking and treating symptoms if available.
This tracking system is called a REMS (
trategy) program. Taking part in the
REMS program is strongly recommended if you receive
the immunotherapy drug ipilimumab.
There are many ways to limit the problems caused by
cancer treatment. However, listing all the ways is beyond
the scope of this booklet. In general, changes in behavior,
diet, or medications may help. Examples include:
• Wearing elastic stockings or sleeves to help prevent
or control lymphedema,
• Medications to relieve pain, and
• Exercise to help reduce fatigue.