Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Radiation Therapy

question mark on paper to highlight questions aboutradiation therapy

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Radiation Therapy

What are my cancer treatment options? What exactly is radiation therapy? Why is this happening to me? These questions are some of the thoughts that run through the minds of those with a recent cancer diagnosis. Whether you’re familiar with cancer treatments or not, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed, scared, and confused. Often, you’ll have a million questions and don’t even know where to begin – and that’s okay. 

When having an initial consultation with your oncologist at Alabama Cancer Care, our goal is to be supportive, kind, and compassionate, patiently answering all your questions. Our doctors and medical professionals have helped outline some common questions that could be helpful to ask when considering radiation therapy.

Questions to Ask About Radiation Therapy

Radiation oncology is a complicated, scientific cancer treatment option that is often difficult to understand. There is no shame in asking simple questions to your doctor. Your understanding of and comfort with your cancer treatment are the main priority.

Questions to ask your doctor:

  • What is radiation therapy?
  • How does it work?
  • Why do I need radiation therapy?
  • Does radiation therapy hurt?
  • What should I expect from my first radiation therapy session?
  • How can this cancer treatment help me?
  • What kind of radiation therapy will I receive?
  • How many weeks will the treatment last?


Questions to Ask About Radiation Therapy Side Effects

Another essential subject to ask your doctor about is the possibility of side effects. Side effects are common and can change in severity depending on the person. It’s a good idea to ask your doctor about side effects that could affect you because of your family history, cancer diagnosis, and other medical conditions.

  • What side effects should I expect during my course of radiation?
  • How do I cope with the side effects
  • What can you do to help me manage my side effects?
  • When can I expect my side effects to be the worst?
  • Will my side effects go away after my radiation therapy is over?
  • What late side effects should I expect to occur?


Suggestions, Resources, and Support for Your Radiation Therapy Journey

Radiation therapy is a weighty endeavor, and it’s important to know that you’re not facing this challenge alone. Going through cancer treatment is a process that wears not only on your body but on your mind and emotions, too. Ask your doctor for resources and suggestions that will help you maintain a healthy, positive lifestyle.

  • What resources would you recommend for me during this time?
  • How can I learn more about radiation therapy?
  • Should I follow a special diet?
  • Can I continue to work during my course of cancer treatment?
  • How should I cope with my emotions?
  • What can I do to make the most of my radiation therapy?
  • What happens when radiation is over?


When asking these questions, it’s a good idea to have a trusted loved one with you to write down the answers. We hope that these questions help you to feel more prepared and at peace with radiation and your oncologist and the medical team at Alabama Cancer Care

Remember, there are no dumb questions. Using these questions as a starting point, you may smoothly transition to other topics that are more relevant to your situation, health, and cancer treatment. We genuinely enjoy getting to walk you through your experience, develop a personal relationship with you, and take things at your pace.