- Understanding Radiation Therapy: A Guide for Patients and Families
- What is radiation therapy? When is it used?
- How does radiation therapy work?
- Do the benefits outweigh the risks and side effects?
- How much does radiation treatment cost?
- Who gives radiation treatments?
- Informed consent
- How is radiation therapy given?
- External radiation therapy
- Internal radiation therapy (brachytherapy)
- Systemic radiation therapy
- Preventing and managing side effects
- Skin problems
- Hair loss
- Blood count changes
- Eating problems
- How will I feel emotionally?
- Will side effects limit my activity?
- Are there long-term side effects I should be concerned about?
- Managing side effects of treatment to certain parts of the body
- Radiation therapy to the head and neck
- Radiation therapy to the brain
- Radiation therapy to the breast and chest
- Radiation therapy to the stomach and abdomen
- Radiation therapy to the pelvis
- Follow-up care
- To learn more
Before treatment, you will 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 may 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 are saying that you have gotten this information, that you understand it, and that you are willing to be treated with radiation. It also means that you understand there is 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
- Other treatment options available for you
- How the treatment will be given, including how long it will last
- Whether you will need tattoos or permanent markings for treatment
- The potential benefits of the treatment
- The possible side effects, including when they usually show up and how long they last
- When to call your doctor
- The possible outcomes if you refuse treatment
Last Medical Review: 01/24/2013
Last Revised: 01/24/2013