Frequently Asked Questions About Radiation

Will I be radioactive after treatment?

No, with external beam radiation, there's no radiation source in your body, you are not radioactive at any time during or after treatment.

Does treatment hurt?

No, radiation therapy does not hurt when it is being administered, although the treatment couch, the table patients lie on to receive treatment might be a little uncomfortable.

Can I drive myself to my treatments?

Most people can get to daily treatments without help. If you are not feeling well, you may need to ask a family member or friend to bring you.

Can I continue to work?

Many people continue to work during their treatment. However, for jobs that are physically strenuous, it may be necessary to switch activities or abstain from work until you regain your strength.

How will I feel emotionally?

Nearly all patients being treated for cancer report feeling emotionally upset at different times during their radiation therapy. It's not unusual to feel anxious, depressed, afraid, angry, frustrated, alone or helpless. Radiation may affect your emotions indirectly through fatigue or changes in hormone balance, but the treatment itself is not a direct cause of mental distress. We have an oncology certified social worker and support group to help you work through issues.

Can I exercise?

Ask your doctor about starting an exercise program. It may help you sleep better and sometimes help control some side effects. Exercise is also good for your body and your sense of well-being. Don't push yourself. We have a cancer exercise specialist to help you design an individualize exercise program.

What is the difference between chemotherapy and radiation therapy?

Chemotherapy involves medications given by injections or pills for cancer treatment. This type of treatment is circulated throughout the entire body and is generally prescribed by a medical oncologist.

"External beam" Radiation Therapy is produced by a linear accelerator and is prescribed by a radiation oncologist. The radiation beams are focused on a very specific area of the body, and thus the effects are highly localized.

We ask that you speak with your radiation oncologist, nurse or radiation therapist about any questions or concerns. They are the only ones who can give you the correct answers and information about your radiation treatments.