Radiation Therapy FAQs

How are treatments scheduled?

Your treatments will be scheduled at the same time each visit. We will try to accomodate your schedule. However, appointments are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.

It is very important that you receive every scheduled treatment. Missing appointments could lessen the effectiveness of your treatments. Often, missed treatments are added to the end of your regimen so you will receive the prescribed number of treatments.

If you anticipate missing an appointment, please call the center at 573-302-2772. If you are unable to attend because of illness, you will be referred to the nurse to review your symptoms.

What should I expect during treatment?

In most cases, you can expect to be in the center for about 30 minutes total. The treatment itself only takes a few minutes. If you need to see the nurse or the physician, this may take more time. Most treatment regimens last six-to-seven weeks. Depending on your needs, the regimen may be longer or shorter in duration.
Typically, you will be able to drive yourself. If you are receiving treatment for a brain tumor, it is recommended that you do not drive.

Radiation treatments do not hurt. Just like an X-ray, you will not see or feel the radiation.

How will I respond to therapy?

Therapists will take weekly pictures called "port" or "beam view" images. These images confirm the target of the radiation. They do not show how the cancer is responding to radiation. In most cases, time measured in months is the only means of determining how the cancer is responding to therapy.
Depending on the location of treatment, the dose of radiation you are receiving and your individual tolerance, your symptoms will vary. Your nurse will monitor your symptoms weekly, or more if necessary, and report these findings to your physician. Most symptoms are easily managed. It is important to understand that symptoms are expected. They do not indicate the therapy is failing.

Where do I find more information or support?

Your physician will be happy to review all treatment options. It's a good idea to write down your questions before meeting with your physician. Your nurse also can provide educational pamphlets and videos. All patients are encouraged to review the "Radiation Therapy and You" booklet before treatment. 

Lake Regional Health System offers many experts to assist you with special needs, including dietitians, social workers, financial planners and clergy. In addition, radiology, laboratory, chemotherapy/medical oncology and rehabilitation therapy services are available on site.