There are many questions that come along with a cancer diagnosis and there is information everywhere. We understand it can be overwhelming and hope that some of the answers below will help you feel more knowledgeable about radiation therapy.
General Questions about Radiation Therapy
Q. Is there anything I need to do to prepare for radiation treatments?
A. Most patients do not need to make any changes to their lifestyle before beginning radiation therapy. During your initial consult, the physician and nurse will give you specific instructions to follow for your daily treatments.
Q.How long will my treatment take?
A. The time required for the treatment depends on your type of cancer and treatment plan. The average time is generally 20 minutes from the time you arrive until you leave our center. However, some treatments may take a little longer. Please feel free to ask one of our Radiation Therapists what timeframe you can expect.
Q.Can I drive myself to my treatment?
A. In many cases, yes, but please check with your physician prior to your appointment. There are several transportation services available in the Wichita area for patients undergoing cancer treatment (certain criteria must be met). Please ask our front desk staff about transportation options if needed.
Q. Can I eat or drink before my treatments?
A. Your physician will give you dietary instructions based on your specific course of treatment.
Q. What side effects should I expect?
A. Side effects vary from person to person and depend on the radiation dose and the part of the body being treated. Some people have no side effects at all. The most common side effects include fatigue and a skin reaction similar to a sunburn that is specific to the area targeted for radiation therapy. Our physicians will meet with you weekly, discuss any side effects you may be experiencing, and give you advice to help minimize those side effects.
Q. What can I do to help take care of myself during radiation therapy treatments?
A. Your doctor and radiation therapy team are the best people to talk to about your treatment, side effects, and things you need to do to take care of yourself. Tell them about any changes in the way you feel and about any side effects you have. It is a good idea to get plenty of rest and maintain a healthy lifestyle while undergoing radiation treatments.
Q. How is radiation therapy different from chemotherapy?
A. Radiation treatments are most often an external form of cancer therapy applied to a specific, targeted area of the body containing a tumor. External radiation therapy uses a machine to direct high-energy rays from outside the body into the tumor. By contrast, chemotherapy is given by injection or by mouth and uses the bloodstream to travel throughout the entire body. Both radiation and chemotherapy inhibit cell growth and can be used together or separately to effectively treat cancer.