Questions for Your Radiation Oncologist

Coping with a diagnosis of cancer and researching the various treatment options can be a stressful experience. To assist you in this process, below is a list of questions you may want to ask your radiation oncologist if you are considering radiation therapy.

Questions to Ask Before Treatment

  • What type and stage of cancer do I have?
  • What is the purpose of radiation treatment for my type of cancer?
  • How will the radiation therapy be given? What do the treatments feel like?
  • How many weeks will I receive radiation? How many treatments will I receive per week? How long does each treatment take?
  • What are the chances that radiation therapy will work?
  • What is a clinical trial? Can I participate in a clinical trial? Do I have to be on a clinical trial?
  • What is the chance that the cancer will spread or come back if I do not have radiation therapy?
  • Will I need chemotherapy, surgery or other treatments? If so, in what order will I receive these treatments?
  • What are some of the support groups I can turn to during treatment?
  • If I have questions after I leave here who can I call?
  • Will radiation therapy affect my ability to have children?
  • Do you take my insurance?
  • Can I get a second opinion?
  • Do all patients have similar side effects?
  • How often will I see my radiation oncologist while I am receiving radiation therapy?

Questions to Ask During Treatment

  • How can I expect to feel during treatment and in the weeks following radiation therapy?
  • Can I drive myself to and from the treatment facility? Is their transportation assistance available?
  • Will I be able to continue my normal activities?
  • What side effects may occur from the radiation and how are they managed?
  • Do I need a special diet during or after my treatment?
  • Can I exercise?
  • Can I have sex?
  • Can I smoke or drink alcohol?
  • Can I go out in the sun?
  • What types of lotions or soaps can I use?
  • Is it safe to take vitamins during treatment?
  • Who can I contact if I have problems after clinic hours?

Questions to Ask After Treatment 

  • How and when will you know if I am cured of cancer?
  • What are the chances that the cancer will come back?
  • How soon can I go back to my regular activities?
  • How often do I need to return for checkups?