- Side Effects From External Radiation: During Treatment
- What External Beam Radiation Is
- The External Radiation Team
- Steps To Take While Waiting For Treatment To Start
- What Happens During A Planning Session Before Your First Radiation Treatment
- What Happens During A Radiation Treatment
- What Happens After Radiation Treatment?
- Side Effects From External Radiation: After Treatment
- How To Choose A Radiation Oncologist
- Do's And Don'ts During Treatment
External-Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT) For Prostate Cancer
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT EACH OF THE FOLLOWING, SEE THE OTHER SECTIONS OF THIS DOCUMENT
External beam radiation (also called External Radiation) is radiation delivered by a machine (a linear accelerator) directly to a tumor site under the supervision of a cancer doctor who is known as a Radiation Oncologist.
- The characteristics of your cancer
- The sensitivity of the tumor to radiation
- The vulnerability of nearby normal tissues.
The radiation dose is normally the same for each session. However, there may be variations.
While waiting for treatment to begin, there are steps to take. For instance, see your dentist. Talk with your doctor about the drugs, vitamins etc you take in case he or she wants you to stop taking them temporarily.
Before your first session, there will be a planning session. It is advisable to take a family member of friend with you to the meeting. It is also helpful to record the session.
Don't be surprised if the start of radiation treatment makes cancer feel real.
External bream radiation is given over a period of time which gives radiated skin time to heal between sessions.
There are do's and don'ts to be aware of during treatment. For example, don't apply powder to the radiated area before treatment. Speak with your radiologist if you have to miss a day or two. The efficiency of the treatment depends on having as few delays as possible.
Other side effects such as skin irritation and fatigue during treatment are either controllable or there are techniques to lessen the effect. There may also be long term side effects.
Keep in mind that treatment decisions may change as treatment goes along. A change does not mean that the original treatment was wrong. Medicine is a combination of science and art.
- If needed, transportation is available to and from treatment.
- If you are uncomfortable in a hospital gown, make your own or buy a substitute.
Women: Avoid getting pregnant during radiation treatment.
Men: If radiation is to the prostate or pelvic area, It is fairly common to experience erectile dysfunction during radiation treatment. Erectile dysfunction may continue for up to several years, or it may be permanent. There are techniques to overcome this situation.
NOTE: For questions to ask before agreeing to radiation, click here.