Questions about radiation therapy
Below are some questions about radiation therapy to ask your doctor to learn more about it as a treatment option, and whether it’s the right fit. Asking your doctor questions will help you make an informed choice. You may want to include some of the questions below in your own list.
Learn more about:
- Why do I need radiation therapy?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of radiation therapy for me?
- How successful is radiation therapy for the type of cancer I have?
- What kind of radiation therapy will I have?
- Will it be my only treatment, or will I have other treatments?
- How long will treatment take? How will it be given?
- Where can I have this treatment? Will I have to travel away from home?
- Will I have radiation therapy as an inpatient or outpatient?
- How will I know if the treatment is working?
- Are there any out-of-pocket expenses not covered by Medicare or my private health cover? Can the cost be reduced if I can’t afford it?
- Are there clinical guidelines you are following?
- Are there any clinical trials or research studies I could join?
- What are the risks and possible side effects of radiation therapy?
- Will any side effects be long-term or short-term?
- Will I be radioactive? Will my partner be affected?
- Is it safe to have sex during the course of radiation therapy?
- Will radiation therapy interact with any other medicines or vitamins I take?
- Can I work, drive and do my normal activities while having treatment?
- Are there any complementary therapies that might help me?
- Should I change my diet or physical activity during or after treatment?
- Who should I contact if I have a problem during treatment? Who is my after-hours contact?
- How often will I need check-ups after treatment?
- If the cancer returns, how will I know? What treatments could I have?
Dr Madhavi Chilkuri, Radiation Oncologist, Townsville Cancer Centre, The Townsville Hospital, and Dean, RANZCR Faculty of Radiation Oncology, QLD; Polly Baldwin, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Patricia Hanley, Consumer; Prof Michael Hofman, Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Physician, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Leanne Hoy, Cancer Nurse Consultant, GenesisCare, VIC; Sharon King, Accredited Practising Dietitian, TAS; Dr Yoo Young (Dominique) Lee, Radiation Oncology Consultant, Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD; Dr Wendy Phillips, Senior Medical Physicist, Department of Radiation Oncology, Royal Adelaide Hospital, SA; Katrina Rech, Radiation Therapist and Quality Systems Manager, GenesisCare, SA. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
The information on this page is also available for download.