Frequently Asked Questions – Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy can be overwhelming.
This handout has a list of questions patients
have asked in the past. We hope this will
help guide you through your treatment.
When will I get the results of my CT
The CT scan you had today was for
treatment planning only. Doctors will not be
able to use this scan to see changes in your
When is my first radiation therapy
Your treatment plan will be made after your
CT scan. The radiation therapist will call
you in 1-2 weeks to set up your first
treatment. They will try to work with your
Where will my treatment be?
The therapist tells you which machine will
be used for your treatment. You will get
directions to that machine.
Where do I check-in?
Come straight down to Radiation Oncology.
Check in at the desk right off the K elevator
in the basement. You do not need to check-
in at the main registration desk.
When will I see my doctor or nurse?
Your doctor and nurse will see you on a
regular basis during treatment. They will
follow your progress. They check for side
effects. Tell them about any concerns you
have. You will see your doctor once a week.
Can I feel the radiation?
You will not feel the radiation. You can hear
the machine turn on. You may hear a
Who is on my treatment team?
● Radiation Therapists work with
doctors to give the daily treatment. They
are under the doctor’s prescription and
supervision. They keep daily records.
They check the treatment machines to
make sure they are working properly.
● Medical Physicists work with your
doctor to make your treatment plan.
They also work with the dosimetrist.
This makes sure treatments are right for
● Dosimetrists calculate the dose of
radiation. This ensures the tumor gets the
right amount of radiation. They use
computers to create the treatment plan.
Will radiation make me sick?
You may have side effects from your
radiation treatment. The side effects are
based on the area of your body treated. For
example, patients being treated to their
abdomen or pelvis may feel nauseous. Ask
your therapists what side effects you may
have. Feeling tired during radiation
treatment is common. Skin reactions from
the radiation are also common. You will get
more information once you start treatment.
Will I lose my hair?
Treatment to the head can cause hair loss.
Treatment to any part of the body covered
with hair can cause hair loss in that area
only. Hair loss can be permanent or
temporary. This depends on your radiation
When will I see side effects from the
As a rule, side effects start about 2 weeks
after the start of your treatment. Your
therapist will give you more information
once you start treatment.
Will I be radioactive?
No. The only time there is radiation is when
the machine is turned on. You are safe to be
around others. You will not give off
What happens if I can’t make it to one of
my radiation therapy treatments?
Call your treatment machine desk phone
number. Speak with a therapist. Try not to
miss any of your treatments. You need to
make up for a missed day. Another day
would be added on to your treatment
How can I contact my doctor before I
start treatment or in-between treatments?
To speak to your doctor or nurse call us at
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 1/2018 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7230