- 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
Understanding Radiation Therapy: A Guide for Patients and Families
You’ve been told you have cancer. You’ve looked at your treatment options, and you and your doctor have agreed that radiation therapy is your best choice—either alone or along with another treatment. Now you may have questions about radiation treatment.
The American Cancer Society knows you may have concerns about radiation therapy, and we have answers to some of your questions. Remember that, along with reading about your treatment, you can also count on your doctor and nurse to answer your questions.
At the end of this document, you will find a glossary that defines words and terms used by your health care team. The words that are in italics the first time they are used are also in the glossary. You can use the glossary to help you better understand the talks you have with your health care team. Open and honest talks with your cancer care team are the best way to understand what is going on with you, your body, and the cancer.
Last Medical Review: 01/24/2013
Last Revised: 01/24/2013