Frequently Asked Questions


WHEN IS RADIATION UTILIZED?

More than half of people with cancer are treated with some form of radiation therapy. Hundreds of thousands of these patients are cancer survivors, whether they received radiation therapy alone or in conjunction with other cancer therapy. Radiation therapy is sometimes combined with chemotherapy, which is a systemic treatment that reaches all parts of the body through the bloodstream. Radiation therapy is sometimes combined with surgery. Radiation can improve the outcomes of chemotherapy by providing another means of reducing tumor size. Chemotherapy can improve the outcome of radiation by sensitizing cancer cells to radiation effects. To learn more about chemotherapy, visit The Center for Hematology-Oncology at www.centerforhemonc.cancercenter.cc/  

Radiation is sometimes used after surgery to prevent any remaining cancer cells from growing. It can stop the cancer from returning, or spreading to other parts of the body. Regrettably, cancer cannot always be stopped from spreading. Radiation therapy can improve the quality of life for terminally ill patients, by reducing their pain, the size of the tumor and cancer symptoms.

WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF RADIATION THERAPY?
The side effects of radiation therapy are site specific. They will vary depending on where in the body you are being treated. Your radiation oncologist will fully discuss any possible side effects and the radiation oncology nurse will also give you details on what to expect during your course of treatment. Literature will be given to you to help you remember.

DOES RADIATION HURT?
You cannot feel the radiation while it is being given. Sometimes the skin becomes tender where it is irradiated.

WILL I LOSE MY HAIR?
Radiation only causes hair loss where the beam enters and exits the body. It is unlike some chemotherapy agents that cause all body hair to fall out.

HOW LONG ARE THE RADIATION TREATMENTS ON A DAILY BASIS?
If you are receiving external beam radiation, you should be prepared for 30 minutes from the time you arrive in the department to the time you leave. The radiation treatment time may only take a few minutes. The additional time is spent preparing for your treatment. Some types of radiation treatment such as Brachytherapy, SRS and SBRT will require longer times in the department.  Your clinicians will inform you of the approximate times that you should expect. 

HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED?
The number of treatments will be determined by the radiation oncologist.

WILL I BE ABLE TO DRIVE HOME AFTER MY TREATMENT?
If you drove to the radiation treatment, you will be able to drive home.

WILL I BE RADIOACTIVE?
External radiation does not make you radioactive. 



Need more information on Radiation Oncology? 
For Sandler Pavilion (Boca Raton) call 561.955.4111. For Delray location call 561.955.7200.

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