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Questions to ask your radiation oncologist

It’s a good idea to bring a list of questions to your first appointment with your radiation oncologist. Bring a pen and paper, or take notes on your phone. This will help you make sure you’re not left with any lingering questions — and give you the opportunity to refer back to the answers later.

Here are some questions you might want to ask:

  • What type of radiation will I be getting?
  • What will happen during the radiation treatments?
  • Where will I be getting treatment?
  • How long will the treatments last?
  • How many treatments will I need?
  • How can I prepare for my treatment?
  • What is the goal of the radiation treatment?
  • How does radiation fit into my overall treatment plan?
  • When and how will we determine the outcome of treatment?
  • Are there any alternatives to radiation?
  • Will I be able to drive myself to and from my appointments?
  • Will the treatment affect my ability to carry out my daily tasks? Will I be able to work? Take care of my family? Do regular household tasks? Exercise? Have sex with  my partner?
  • Do I need to follow a special diet during treatment?
  • Can I continue to take my prescription medications and vitamins/supplements during treatment?
  • What side effects can I expect from treatment?
  • When should I expect them to start?
  • What can I do to manage my side effects?
  • Will I have any late or long-lasting side effects?
  • Will my treatment affect my ability to have children?
  • Do I need to take any special precautions before, during or after my treatment?
  • With pelvic radiation, do you recommend treatment with a full bladder? With a vaginal dilator in place for women? Why or why not?
  • For pelvic radiation specifically, can you get me a referral for pelvic floor physical therapy after completion of radiation therapy?

Here’s a downloadable PDF for you to print out and take to your appointment.

Looking for more questions?

Check out this article by RT Answers. 

Want to learn more about radiation?

Join one of our COLONTOWN Facebook groups:

  • Corner Cupboard is a place to discuss treatment side effects and management
  • In Liver Lover’s Lane we talk all about liver metastases.
    Join us in Lungston for all things related to lung metastases
  • In Legoland, we discuss bone metastases
  • Come join us in The Attic to learn about brain metastases
  • If you want more information about distant lymph node metastases, join us in In the Distance
  • Join Tough Chicks to learn more about how radiation affects women’s fertility
  • The Mighty Y-90 neighborhood has the answers to all of your questions about Y-90 treatment
  • If you’re suffering from late or long-lasting side effects related to treatment, check out The Late Show

Want to join? Fill out the registration form here.

COLONTOWN University has so much more to offer, from DocTalk videos with CRC experts to easy-to-understand biomarker test breakdowns. We’re here for you! See our list of Learning Centers here.

Last updated: April 28, 2022