What side effects can lung cancer radiation cause?

Many lung cancer patients are concerned about the side effects lung cancer radiation can cause, such as heart or kidney damage, or fertility problems, says radiation oncologist Russell K. Hales, M.D. of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center on the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus.

“Any therapy can cause short-term or long-term problems, and side effects,” Hales notes. “When we look at the benefit of these therapies, though, they have to be taken in context of the risks. If your physician has recommended radiation as part of your lung cancer treatment, it is far more likely to be beneficial, than to be risky. New therapies that help us target our radiation treatment more precisely have helped lower the risks to nearby organs.”

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