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Possible Side Effects

People with colorectal cancer often get chemotherapy while they are receiving radiation. Side effects during treatment result from both the local effects of radiation to the pelvic area and the systemic effects of chemotherapy throughout the body.

  • Possible side effects from radiation include more frequent bowel movements, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, pressure or discomfort in the rectal area, urinating more often, burning with urination, skin irritation, nausea and fatigue. These are usually temporary and resolve after your treatment ends.
  • Chemotherapy side effects will depend on the specific drug you receive.
  • Side effects are not the same for all patients. Ask your doctor what you can expect from your specific treatment.
  • Many of these side effects can be well controlled with medications and changes to your diet. Tell your doctor or nurse if you experience any discomfort so it can be treated.