Frequently Asked Questions for Radiation Patients

Do the treatments hurt?
No, there is usually no pain associated with radiation. However, some patients do report a feeling of warmth or tingling at the treatment site.

What should I wear for my treatment?
Wear clothing that is comfortable and easy to get in and out of. Also, be aware that the ink from the skin markings could get on your clothing.

Who do I call if I am having side effects or problems with my radiation treatment?
You should call your radiation oncology nurse/physician at (210) 450-5600.

Can I breathe and swallow during treatment?
Yes, it is not like a regular x-ray when you have to hold your breath and not swallow. However, you will be asked not to move the area being treated.

Can I eat or drink before treatment?
Yes, unless otherwise directed by your treatment team.

Will the treatments make me radioactive?
No, patients who receive external radiation do not become radioactive.

Can I take a bath or shower?
Yes, but try not to rub the marks off that the therapist put on you. Let the water just run over that area and just pat dry. You should avoid using lotions, ointments, or perfumes 4 hours prior to treatment.

Should I keep the treatment area covered?
You will want to prevent the area being treated from being exposed to the sun. Other directions, if necessary, will be given by your treatment team.

Will I lose my hair?
You may experience some hair loss or thinning but only at the treatment site.

Can I continue to have sex?
Yes, unless your physician advises you not to.

Will my skin get burned?
There is usually some skin reaction in the area being treated. The radiation oncology nurses will give you literature and instructions about how to care for your skin and how to treat the reactions you may have.

What happens if I miss a treatment?
It is best if you finish your treatments as scheduled. However, should you need to miss a treatment, it is usually just added on to the end of your treatment schedule.

Who do I call if I am running late, cannot come or need to change my time?
You should call the therapists at the machine you are being treated since they keep the schedule for that machine. If you cannot keep your appointment due to illness or side effects, please contact your nursing team to discuss concerns or problems.

Can my family come to the treatment room with me?
We ask that all family and friends wait in the reception area. However, if you need assistance in getting to the treatment room, someone may help you and then return to the reception area to wait for you.