Will I be radioactive?
You will NOT be radioactive during and 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 treatment affect my sex life?
The desire to have sex may decrease because you may become tired, anxious or unwell during treatment. You are advised to refrain from sexual intercourse until your spine is stable. Please discuss this with your radiation oncologist.
Do I still need to use contraception?
Yes, both men and women should use contraception during and after radiotherapy. Do not try to get pregnant or father a child. Some cancer treatments can cause damage to sperm, which may lead to birth abnormalities or complications. 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 or father a child. Talk to your doctor or nurse before you start any treatment. Depending on your situation there may be fertility sparing options available to you and/or your partner, discuss these with your doctor or nurse. See our patient information sheets – Fertility for men during cancer treatment and Fertility for women during cancer treatment.
Should I be on a special diet while having treatment?
It is recommended that you enjoy a balanced diet while you are on treatment and drink plenty of fluids. If you have any concerns or questions about your diet ask to see a dietitian.
What does the x-ray taken during treatment tell me?
The x-ray or images that the radiation therapists take during your treatments are used to confirm that you are in the correct position for your treatment. These x-rays cannot be used to tell if your tumour is responding to the radiotherapy treatment.
Will I lose my hair?
You will not lose the hair on your head unless it is in the treatment area. You may lose some body hair if it is in the treatment field and this can begin to happen during or after treatment.
Can I drive during treatment?
You are advised NOT to drive until your spine is stable. Please discuss with your radiation oncologist prior to driving a motor vehicle.
Can I have a flu or tetanus vaccination?
Vaccination such as flu and tetanus are safe to receive while you are having treatment.
Is it safe to take vitamin tablets and herbal medicines?
Before starting any medicines which includes prescription, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and alternative, natural or herbal medicines tell your doctor, radiation therapist or nurse. Some medications can interact with your treatment.
Who can I talk to if I am not coping?
It is not uncommon for you to feel anxious or depressed during and after treatment. 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 cancer information and support.
How do you know if the treatment is successful?
You should start to see results within a few days of starting radiotherapy. How well the treatment works depends on your symptoms before you started treatment. Radiotherapy usually helps to relieve pain, weakness in your legs and any other symptoms such as loss of bladder and bowel control. Your doctor will see you after treatment is complete 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.