Questions to ask about radiation therapy

The following are questions that you can ask the healthcare team about radiation therapy treatment. Choose the questions that fit your, or your child’s, situation and add questions of your own. You may find it helpful to take the list to the next appointment and to write down the answers.

  • Is radiation therapy a treatment option for me (or my child)?
  • What is radiation therapy?
  • What are the benefits and risks of having radiation therapy?
  • When will radiation therapy be given? Is there a waiting list for radiation therapy?
  • What type of radiation therapy is used for this cancer?
  • How is radiation therapy given? How often? Over what period of time?
  • Where will the treatment take place?
  • Does radiation therapy require a hospital stay? If so, for how long?
  • Can a support person (such as a partner, parent or friend) stay during radiation therapy?
  • What are the chances it will be successful? When will we know?
  • Is any preparation needed for radiation therapy?
  • What tests are done during radiation therapy?
  • Will other treatments (like chemotherapy) be used at the same time?
  • Will any vitamins or over-the-counter drugs (for example, Tylenol) affect radiation therapy?
  • What are possible side effects of radiation therapy? When would they start? How long do they usually last?
  • What side effects should I report right away? Who do I call?
  • What can be done to treat side effects?
  • Is a special diet needed?
  • Are there special things that I should or should not do during and after radiation therapy?
  • Will radiation therapy affect usual activities? If so, for how long?
  • Will there be other treatments after radiation therapy? If so, what kind?
  • When are follow-up visits scheduled? Who is responsible for follow-up after radiation therapy?

Medical disclaimer

The information that the Canadian Cancer Society provides does not replace your relationship with your doctor. The information is for your general use, so be sure to talk to a qualified healthcare professional before making medical decisions or if you have questions about your health.

We do our best to make sure that the information we provide is accurate and reliable but cannot guarantee that it is error-free or complete.

The Canadian Cancer Society is not responsible for the quality of the information or services provided by other organizations and mentioned on, nor do we endorse any service, product, treatment or therapy.

1-888-939-3333 | | © 2024 Canadian Cancer Society