Radiation Therapy FAQs

Will getting a tattoo hurt?
You will feel a slight pinprick as a fine needle is used to place the tiny tattoos. Remember to relax and communicate with the staff about any concerns you may have.

Will I feel any pain during treatment?
No, radiation is similar to having an x-ray taken. There is no pain or any sensation involved.

Will I become radioactive? 
No, just like taking an x-ray, once the radiation is turned off, radiation does not stay in your body. It is safe to be around family and friends while you are undergoing your treatments.

How close will the machine be to my body?
The machine will not touch you. It may move close to your treatment area, but it will not make contact with your skin.

Will I see, feel, or hear anything while receiving my radiation treatment?
You will not see or feel anything during treatment. You will only hear noises from the radiation machine.

Can I move around when the radiation is on? 
Remaining as still as possible is important when the radiation is on. Relax and breathe normally. If you need to cough, don’t be polite and cover up. Cough straight up or down, depending on your position and you will naturally relax back into the correct position.

Will I be alone when the treatment is being delivered?
Yes, once you have been placed into position, your radiation therapist will deliver your treatment from outside the room. Your treatment room has cameras and an intercom system, so staff will be able to see and hear you at all times. If you require assistance, feel free to call out and they will assist you, as needed.

Are there any side effects from my radiation treatments?
There are common side effects associated with radiation therapy, as it’s hard to destroy cancer cells without damaging some normal cells too. These side effects vary depending on the area being treated, the prescribed radiation dose and the length of your overall treatment.

Your radiation oncologist and radiation therapists will discuss any possible side effects with you and provide methods for managing them. The SRCC at Southlake also offers classes and information sessions to help you manage your side effects. We will also monitor you throughout your treatment and during weekly visits with your healthcare team.

For more information, visit this Managing Symptoms and Side Effects page or the Radiation page on Cancer Care Ontario’s website.