What To Expect

Fighting cancer is challenging. To help you prepare for the fight, here is a brief outline of what you can expect during treatment with radiotherapy or radiosurgery. The details of some of the steps may differ, depending on your particular case.

Step 1: The Consultation

First, you'll meet with your doctor, a radiation oncologist, to discuss your treatment. The oncologist may examine you with a fiberscope — a flexible device that uses fiber optics to look at internal organs. Your oncologist will tell you what type of radiation therapy he or she recommends, whether it will be given alone or in conjunction with other treatment methods, what the specific goals of treatment are, and what side effects you may experience. If you have more than one treatment option from which to choose, your doctor will give you the information you need to make a decision.

In addition, you may meet with an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist — also called an otolaryngologist — to learn how to manage side effects and to discuss other issues. You may also have a consultation with a medical oncologist to discuss chemotherapy to be given along with the radiation therapy — a treatment approach called concomitant chemotherapy.

The consultation is an excellent opportunity for you to ask your oncologist whatever questions you may have. Click here for a list of common questions.