Cancer diagnosis and treatment at West Cancer Center involves a team of experts in multiple specialties. This multidisciplinary, team-based approach provides the net comfort to our patients that they are going to receive the best care available, right here in Memphis. 

How often do I have to come in for treatment?

Depending on the location and stage of your tumor, your radiation oncologist may schedule anywhere from two to eight weeks of radiation therapy. Your body cannot handle large amounts of radiation all at once, so you will receive small doses on a daily basis. Most often, your therapy will be scheduled on an outpatient basis, Monday through Friday. It is very important that you do not miss or skip any of your treatments unless ordered by your doctor.

What will happen during the treatment?

Most patients receive their treatments through a method called “external beam radiation.” One type of machine that delivers the radiation is called a linear accelerator. As you lie on the table, a radiation therapist moves the head of the machine to where it needs to be for proper delivery of the radiation. You will be alone in the treatment room when the machine is turned on, however, the radiation therapist can watch you through a camera to make sure you are safe and comfortable. There is a microphone in the room so that you can talk to the therapist.

Will I feel anything when I receive my radiation treatments?

You will not feel or see anything when you receive your radiation – it is a quick and painless process. The machine may slowly move around you during treatment, and you may hear a slight buzzing sound when the machine is turned on. The whole process, from entering the treatment room until you have finished your treatment usually takes between 15 and 30 minutes.

Can I continue doing daily activities during my treatment?

It is best to discuss this with your doctor; however, patients generally find that they are able to do light housework or exercise throughout their weeks of therapy.

Can I continue doing daily activities during my treatment?

It is best to discuss this with your doctor; however, patients generally find that they are able to do light housework or exercise throughout their weeks of therapy.

Will I be radioactive?

No – patients who receive external beam radiation are not radioactive during or after treatment. You are not radioactive to children, pregnant women, or pets.

What side effects can I expect?

Your body is trying to repair itself as the radiation is trying to destroy the tumor, so you will most likely experience some fatigue during your therapy. This is normal. Depending on the location of your treatment, you may notice some tanning or sunburn on your skin, or soreness of the tissues. Discuss these side effects with your doctor or nurse. Also, you may read more about how to alleviate potential side effects here.

When my therapy is finished will I still need to see the radiation oncologist?

It is important for you to go to all of your follow up appointments with your radiation oncologist so that he or she can determine if the radiation therapy has worked effectively. Any other physicians who are involved in your overall care, such as your primary care physician, may want to schedule follow up appointments with you as well. Talk to your physician about any side effects you may be experiencing during your treatment and/or follow up sessions.