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Cancer Frequently Asked Question’s

  1. Why am I getting another CT (CAT Scan)?
  2. Will my hair fall out?
  3. Will the radiation hurt?
  4. Will radiation make me sick?
  5. Can I wear jewelry during my treatment?
  6. Why do I have to be still?
  7. Why do I have to be alone in the treatment room?
  8. Is it safe for me to be around other people after having my treatment?
  9. Why do I have to get permanent marks (tattoos)?
  10. How often will I come for treatment?
  11. How long will my radiation treatment last?
  12. How often do I see the doctor?
  13. Why are films (x-rays) taken? Can you see a change in my condition from the x-rays taken in the treatment room?
  14. When will I know if the radiation has helped?
  15. What’s a boost?

Why am I getting another CT (CAT Scan)?
Although you may have had previous CT scans done before coming to Georgia Regents Medical Center-Radiation Therapy Center, our scan is given for a very different reason. Before you can start your radiation treatment, a treatment plan must be created specifically for you. In order for our planning department to create your individual treatment plan, they need to be able to visualize where your organs are located when you are in the position that you will be treated. So, for our CT scan you will be placed in the same position that you will be in during your radiation treatments. These images are what will be used by our planning department and physicians to create your specific treatment plan.

Will my hair fall out?
Unlike chemotherapy which affects the entire body, hair will only be affected in the specific area of radiation treatment.

Will the radiation hurt?
No. You cannot see or feel the radiation.

Will radiation make me sick?
Generally radiation will not make you sick. Radiation only affects the area that is being treated. Side-effects will vary for different areas of treatment. Experiencing side-effects during the first few treatments is not typical. Speak with your Radiation Oncologist for more information about the possible side-effects you may experience.

Can I wear jewelry during my treatment?
Yes. You may wear jewelry during your treatment as long as it is not in the area that is being treated.

Why do I have to be still?
It is important to be still in order to maintain consistency throughout your treatment. Large movements may relocate the tumor, or area being treated, out of the radiation path. You can relax and breathe normally, but your body should stay in the same position.

Why do I have to be alone in the treatment room?
The reason you have to be in the treatment room alone is for the protection of the radiation therapists and other personnel. If you find it comforting to have someone in the room, the radiation therapist can speak to you via the intercom throughout your treatment.

Is it safe for me to be around other people after having my treatment?
Yes. You will not be radioactive after you’ve had your treatment. So, it is safe for you continue with your normal social activities.

Why do I have to get permanent marks (tattoos)?
The radiation therapists use the permanent marks to get you in the correct position for your treatments. By having the permanent marks, you won’t have to worry about maintaining ink marks and tape on your skin throughout your treatment process. This will also give you the freedom to bathe normally.

How often will I come for treatment?
The majority of people come for treatment five days a week (Monday through Friday). However, this will be determined by the Radiation Oncologist prescribing your radiation treatment.

How long will my radiation treatment last? 
Treatment time will vary from person to person based on their specific treatment plan. Typically, the first day of treatment is the longest, lasting about an hour. Following your first day, treatments are generally completed in 15-30mins. Again, the length of time will depend on your specific treatment plan.

How often will I see the doctor?
You are scheduled to see a doctor once a week, generally on Mondays following your treatment. During which, a nurse will take your weight to ensure that you aren’t losing too much weight. You will then talk with one of the radiation oncologists about how you’re feeling, how your treatments have been going, if you’re experiencing any side-effects, or if you have any questions or concerns. However, if at any time through the week you have questions or concerns that you would like to ask a doctor about, let your radiation therapists know and they will put you in an exam room so that you may speak with one of the physicians.

Why are films (x-rays) taken? Can you see a change in my condition from the x-rays taken in the treatment room?
X-rays are taken on a weekly basis solely for positioning purposes. They allow your radiation team to verify that you are in the correct position on the treatment table. These x-rays are not of diagnostic quality, which means they can in no way be used to determine things such as whether or not a tumor has reduced in size.

When will I know if the radiation has helped?
Radiation will continue working in your body even after your last radiation treatment. This is why most oncologists prefer to re-evaluate the progress of their patients several weeks to a few months after the completion of their last radiation treatment.

What’s a boost?
Sometimes, the Radiation Oncologist determines that it is necessary to give a certain dose to a large area and then “boost” or give a little extra dose to a smaller portion of that same area. Your Radiation Oncologist will let you know towards the end of your treatments if they plan to give you a boost.