What causes radiation burn?

Radiation burn or radiation dermatitis is a common side effect of external beam radiation therapy to treat some forms of cancer. This type of radiation therapy delivers radiation through a machine that targets cancerous cells. The treatment isn’t painful. But it can make your skin sore, peel, itch or turn red. That’s because radiation passes through your skin to its target.

Will I notice symptoms right away?

You may not have any problems during your first few sessions. Most people whose treatment is close to the skin’s surface notice their skin is itchy and dry after the first session. Your skin may feel itchy and dry during your treatment. Some people develop radiation burn after their final session. That’s because radiation keeps on working even after you finish your treatment.