Will I be radioactive?
You will NOT be radioactive during or after external beam radiotherapy treatment. You can safely mix with other people, including children and pregnant women, at any time during and after your treatment.
Will I lose my hair?
You may lose some hair on your head or body if it is in the area of treatment. This usually occurs 2-3 weeks into your treatment. In most patients this is temporary, but for some this may be permanent.
Will treatment affect my sex life?
While it is still safe for you to have sexual intercourse during your radiotherapy, the desire to have sex may decrease because you may become tired, anxious or unwell. It may help to discuss your worries with your partner and/or your radiation oncologist or nurse. A referral to a sexual counsellor may also assist.
What can you do if intercourse is painful?
Many women find they are in too much discomfort to have sex until the tissues in your vagina have healed. This may take 4-6 weeks after your radiotherapy has finished. It may help to discuss this with your partner, radiation oncologist and/or nurse. A referral to a sexual counsellor may assist in managing this side effect. The regular use of a vaginal dilator will help with keeping the tissues in your vagina flexible and elastic. Ask for eviQ patient information - How to manage vaginal stenosis using a vaginal dilator.
Do I still need to use contraception?
Yes, you should use contraception during and after radiotherapy. Ask your doctor or nurse about what type of contraception you should use and for how long.
Will this treatment affect my fertility?
Some cancer treatments can reduce your fertility. This can make it difficult or impossible to get pregnant. Talk to your doctor or nurse before you start any treatment. Depending on your situation there may be fertility sparing options available to you, discuss these with your doctor or nurse. See our patient information sheets – Fertility for women during cancer treatment.
There is a possibility that radiotherapy treatments to the pelvis may make you infertile. Radiotherapy can damage your eggs, which can lead to birth abnormalities. Please ask your radiation oncologist for information on egg preservation and ovary sparing procedures before you start your treatment.
Should I be on a special diet while having treatment?
It is recommended that you enjoy a balanced diet (including grains, fruit, vegetables and dairy products) and drink plenty of fluids while you are on treatment. Some foods and drinks may irritate your bladder, causing increased frequency of urination and discomfort. If you have any concerns or questions about your diet, have difficulty eating or are experiencing weight loss, ask to see a dietitian who can help you.
What does the X-ray taken during treatment tell me?
The X-rays or other images that the radiation therapists take during your treatments are used to confirm your position. These x-rays cannot be used to tell if your tumour is responding to the radiotherapy treatment.
Can I drive during treatment?
In general, most patients will be well enough to drive whilst they are receiving radiotherapy treatment. If you are unwell or on strong pain killers discuss this with your radiation oncologist prior to driving a motor vehicle.
Can I have a flu or tetanus vaccination?
It is usually safe to have vaccinations such as flu and tetanus while you are having treatment. If you are due for vaccinations talk to your radiation oncologist about the best time to have them. If you are having chemotherapy, talk to your medical oncologist before having any vaccinations.
Is it safe to take vitamin tablets and herbal medicines?
Before starting any medications, including prescription, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and alternative or natural or herbal medicines tell your doctor, radiation therapist or nurse. Some medications may interact with your treatment.
Who can I talk to if I am not coping?
You may feel anxious or depressed during and after the treatment process. Let your treating team know and they will arrange for you to talk to someone. You can also call the Cancer Council 13 11 20 for more cancer information and support.
How do you know if the treatment is successful?
It is not possible to know if your treatment has been successful immediately after you finish treatment. Your doctor will see you during and after your treatment and will discuss your progress.
What is the follow up?
Once your treatment has finished, you will be advised by your doctor as to what follow up appointments are needed.