At Central Florida Cancer Care Center, our dedicated staff is here to make your treatment as easy and stress-free as possible. For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) we often address from patients below.
If you review this page and do not find an answer for your question, please don’t hesitate to contact us anytime using this form or call us at 407-321-3040 during normal business hours.
We accept most major insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid. As a courtesy, all referrals and outpatient test authorizations are obtained by our own insurance specialists. If you have specific insurance questions, please feel free to contact our office at 407-321-3040.
- Your photo ID
- Your insurance card
- A list of current prescriptions and over-the-counter medications you are taking, including dose and frequency
- Pertinent information about your medical and surgical history
- Bring any pertinent x-rays or records you may have
Radiation therapy uses a stream of high-energy particles or waves, such as x-rays or electrons to destroy cancer cells. Other names for radiation therapy include radiotherapy or x-ray therapy. Radiation therapy is one of the most common treatments for cancer and is used in more than half of all cancer cases. It is the primary treatment for many types of cancer. Thousands of people become free of cancer after receiving radiation therapy alone or in combination with surgery, chemotherapy or immunotherapy.
Cancer cells grow and divide more rapidly than many of the normal cells around them. High doses of radiation can kill cells usually by destroying their ability to divide, and it has proven to be particularly effective in killing cancer cells and shrinking tumors. Although some normal cells are affected by radiation, most normal cells recover more fully from the effects of radiation than do cancer cells. When radiation treatments are given for cancer, special care is taken to ensure that as much normal tissue as possible is spared from radiation exposure. The radiation dose is precisely measured and carefully aimed to kill as many cancer cells as possible while sparing normal tissue.
During your radiation therapy, a team of medical professionals will care for you.
The Radiation Oncologist is a physician who specializes in the use of radiation therapy to treat cancer and other diseases and serves as the leader of the team and directs all aspects of the patients’ radiation treatments.
The Radiation Physicist has a degree in medical physics and supervises the technical aspects of radiation treatments; ensuring that the radiation equipment is working properly and gives you the correct dose as prescribed by your radiation oncologist.
The Dosimetrist calculates the dose of radiation given to the patient, using highly advanced computer technology.
The Radiation Therapist operates the machine that administers radiation therapy on a daily basis. Your doctor will not actually administer your radiation treatments on a daily basis, but he or she will actively oversee all aspects of your treatment.
Chemotherapy involves medications given by injections or pills for cancer. This type of treatment is circulated throughout the entire body and is generally prescribed by a medical oncologist. Radiation therapy is x-rays produced by a linear accelerator or a radioactive source and is prescribed by a radiation oncologist. The radiation beams are focused on a very specific area of the body, and thus the effects are highly localized. The radioactive implants are placed inside the affected organ and confine the dose to that area. Unlike chemotherapy, which exposes the entire body to cancer-fighting chemicals, radiation therapy affects only the tumor and the surrounding area.
The actual time required to administer “external beam radiotherapy” ranges from five to fifteen minutes, depending on the complexity of the treatment; however the actual radiation beam is only on for a fraction of this time. The majority of the time that the patient spends on the radiation treatment table involves the verification of proper patient positioning.
A course of radiation can last from 1 day to 8 weeks depending on the disease and the treatment course that your doctor prescribes. Most treatments are given daily, Monday through Friday, 5 days per week.
Side effects vary from patient to patient and depend mostly on the treatment dose and the part of your body treated. Your general health can also affect how your body reacts to radiation therapy and whether you have side effects. Typically, the side effects of radiation treatments are usually limited to the local area where the radiation treatment is given. The most common side effects include: fatigue (feeling tired), skin changes and loss of appetite. Your physician and therapist will discuss the specific side effects of your treatment with you and offer useful advice in helping to minimize the severity of these symptoms, should they occur. Patients who receive chemotherapy during radiation will find the side effects are more magnified.
External beam radiation treatments are painless. They are very similar to having a regular x-ray taken. Radiation beams are not visible with the bare eye.
Almost all patients are able to drive while receiving radiation treatment. However, with some types of cancer, driving may not be recommended due to fatigue, strong pain medication, or effects of the cancer. Your physician will be able to address your specific case.
During treatment, the affected area may look red and/or irritated. After a few weeks, your skin may become dry or reddened from the therapy. It is important to let your doctor or nurse know of any skin changes. He or she can suggest measures to relieve your discomfort and possibly lessen further irritation. Click here to see information that may assist you in your Breast Skin Care needs.