1. How does radiation treatment work?
Radiation treatment applies high energy X-rays to damage the DNA of the tumour cells, thereby preventing them from dividing, growing and spreading. During radiation treatment, normal cells are damaged as well. But, normal cells are better able to repair this radiation damage. Radiation treatments are given in small daily doses, five days a week to give normal cells time to restore and to reduce a patient’s side effects.
2. Does radiation treatment hurt?
No, radiation treatment does not cause any pain when it is being conducted. But the side effects which people may experience from radiation therapy can cause pain or discomfort
3. How long does the treatment take?
Each treatment type is different. Your radiation therapist will give you an estimate of how long each treatment will take at the beginning of your first session.
4. Will I experience any side effects from the radiation treatment?
While the goal of radiation treatment is to destroy cancer cells, it can also injure or kill normal cells in surrounding organs and tissue, which can cause some unwanted side effects. Your radiation oncologist will explain any potential side effects before your treatment starts.
5. What are the benefits of radiation treatment?
There are various benefits of using radiation therapy. Radiation therapy:
- It is a localized treatment, involves targeting a specific area of the body.
- It is vital in the treatment of cancers that cannot be treated successfully by surgery or chemotherapy alone.
- It is used following surgery to eradicate existing cancer cells that couldn’t be removed.
- Can reduce the size of a tumour so that it can be more safely removed or treated with chemotherapy during surgery.
- Can offer permanent control of a tumour, thereby reducing pressure, bleeding, pain and other distressing symptoms, and enhancing the quality of life.
Combined with chemotherapy, it improves the effectiveness of both treatments.
6. Will I be able to be around my family and friends after treatment?
Yes, there is no lingering radiation after treatment. Therefore no danger will be caused to anyone with whom you may come in contact. If you are getting a brachytherapy procedure that requires placing radioactive sources in or around the treatment area, your radiation oncologist will explain any special instructions with you.
7. Should I bring anything with me to my treatment sessions?
Patients are not needed to bring anything with them to their treatment sessions. However, individual patients may receive special instructions about preparation for their treatment
8. Who are the Members of the Radiation Treatment Team?
- Radiation Oncologists– Radiation oncologists are the doctors who will supervise your radiation treatments.
- Medical Physicists– Medical physicists work directly with the radiation oncologist during treatment.
- Dosimetrists– Dosimetrists work with the radiation oncologist and medical physicist to precisely calculate the dose of radiation to ensure the tumour gets enough radiation.
- Radiation Therapists- Radiation therapists work with radiation oncologists to give regular radiation treatment under the doctor’s prescription and supervision.
- Radiation Oncology Nurses
- Other Healthcare professionals
9. Will I be radioactive after my treatment?
No, radiation treatment does not make you radioactive. The radiation is produced by the machines and is not active after treatment.