Understanding Radiation Therapy

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Informed consent for radiation therapy

Before treatment, you’ll be asked to sign a consent form. This form gives the doctor permission to treat you with radiation and do the tests that are needed to plan your treatment. The details of the consent form can vary, but it usually says that your doctor has explained to you how radiation therapy may benefit you, the possible risks, the type of radiation to be used, and your other treatment options. By signing the form, you’re saying that you’ve gotten this information, you understand it, and you’re willing to be treated with radiation. It also means that you understand there’s no guarantee that the treatment will work.

Before signing the consent form, be sure that you understand these things:

  • Your diagnosis
  • The type of radiation treatment the doctor plans to use
  • Your other treatment options
  • How the treatment will be given and how long it will last
  • Whether you’ll need tattoos or permanent markings for treatment
  • The goal and potential benefits of the treatment
  • The possible side effects, including when they usually show up and how long they last
  • When to call your cancer care team
  • The possible outcomes if you refuse treatment

Last Medical Review: 06/30/2015
Last Revised: 06/30/2015