Radiation is a popular form of cancer treatment because of its ability to cure cancer, prevent cancer from returning, or slow the spread of the disease.
Like most procedures, radiation therapy requires a bit of mental and physical preparation. We’ve found that when patients are well-prepared for their exam (they’ve asked any questions they have, know what to expect, etc.) the procedure goes smoother.
What to Know Before Undergoing Radiation Therapy
- Treatment may be several days a week. Though each patient’s needs are different, most receive treatment five days a week for six to seven weeks. The goal of shorter but more frequent sessions is to protect healthy cells near the area being treated.
- Arrive to appointments in loose fitting clothing. Your doctor may ask you to change into a gown before treatment, so it’s best to wear clothing that you can easily remove or adjust.
- You will need to be fitted for a cradle. A cradle is used to keep you in place during your treatments and prevents healthy tissue from being damaged.
- You may be tattooed. Some patients require small dots to be tattooed on their body so that the medical team can properly align the machine with your tumor.
- It’s important that you lay still throughout treatment. Aside from breathing, it’s imperative that you don’t move your body while undergoing treatment. Laying still can be a problem for some patients, so be sure to discuss any physical (restless leg syndrome, ticks, etc.) or mental (anxiety, claustrophobia, etc.) concerns you have with your doctor before therapy begins.If you do need to move in the middle of treatment, tell your technician (there’s an intercom system), as the machine can be turned off.
- Remember that radiation isn’t painful. You can’t see, hear, feel, or smell radiation, meaning therapy is painless. What you may hear throughout your treatment is the machine administering radiation.
Beverly Oncology & Imaging offers state-of-the-art medical technology with greater convenience than hospitals can offer. We are leaders in our field, using cutting-edge technology like Rotating Gamma Technology™, External Beam therapy, and brachytherapy. Contact us today to discuss treatment options or to make an appointment.