Radiation therapy - questions to ask your doctor
You are having radiation therapy. This is treatment that uses high-powered x-rays or particles to kill cancer cells. You may receive radiation therapy by itself or also have other treatments at the same time. Your health care provider may need to follow you closely while you are having radiation therapy. You will also need to learn how to care for yourself during this time.
Below are questions you may want to ask your doctor.
What to ask your doctor about radiation therapy
Do I need someone to bring me in and pick me up after the radiation treatments?
What are the known side effects?
What will my skin look like after radiation treatments? How should I take care of my skin?
Can I go out in the sun?
Am I at risk of infections?
Am I at risk of bleeding?
Are there any medicines I should not take?
Do I need to use birth control?
Will I be sick to my stomach or have loose stools or diarrhea?
Will my hair fall out? Is there anything I can do about it?
Will I have problems thinking or remembering things? Can I do anything that might help?
How should I take care of my mouth and lips?
What can I do about my fatigue?
When should I call the doctor?
National Cancer Institute website. Radiation therapy and you: support for people with cancer. www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/radiationttherapy.pdf. Updated May 2007. Accessed December 21, 2016.
Zeman EM, Schreiber EC, Tepper JE. Basics of radiation therapy. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2014:chap 27.
Review Date: 11/10/2016
Reviewed By: Todd Gersten, MD, hematology/oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 03-20-18.
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