What Can I Expect?

1. What is Radiation Therapy?

2. How does Radiation Therapy work?

3. What can I expect after I am told I need Radiation Therapy?

An appointment will be made for a formal consultation with a radiation oncologist in the Cancer Treatment Center.


The consultation usually lasts an hour and is used to decide whether radiation therapy is appropriate or not. If it is deemed appropriate, then we can decide when the radiation treatment should start, how many treatments are necessary, and what areas should be treated. This consultation time is your opportunity to have your questions answered fully about the process of treatment you will be receiving. Most patients should not expect to receive their first treatment during this initial consultation visit. After the consultation visit, most patients will make a return appointment for treatment simulation. The simulation appointment usually lasts about an hour and involves CT scans done at the Cancer Treatment Center. These CT scans help the radiation therapy team localize and design the treatment area. The information obtained from the CT scan is downloaded into a computer for treatment planning and dose calculation prior to treatment being given. Treatment is then usually delivered once a day, 5 days a week. Your treatment will be given by a licensed radiation therapist, and you will see your physician once a week during treatment. The duration of the treatment usually depends on the area of the body being treated, which machines are being used, and if the treatments are being used in hopes of curing the cancer or relieving symptoms. Most curative treatments will last 6-8 weeks.

4. Will Radiation Therapy make me radioactive?

5. Will the treatment hurt while they are being given?

6. Which side effects may I have, and how long will they last?

7. What things can I do to help myself during treatment?

8. How do I make an appointment?

9. Do I need preauthorization from my insurance carrier for treatment?

10. What other services can I receive at the Cancer Treatment Center?