It may take a while for one to accept the diagnosis of cancer. The reality of having to go through radiotherapy tends to increases anxiety. We share this worry and would like to suggest some tips on how you can prepare for radiotherapy sessions.
Radiotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses beams of intense energy to kill cancer cells. The effects of radiation therapy are highly dependent on the parts of the body being treated. It might be difficult to know how to prepare but some of the following advice will help.
- Discuss with your radiotherapy team: You can talk about the known side effects, how many sessions needed, and success rates. This will provide you with the necessary information on what to expect from your radiotherapy. Please ask as many questions as possible. Always remember it is your body and it is very important you have a good idea of your treatment protocols.
- Give formal consent: Before going ahead with the treatment, your team will present a written consent for you to sign. Prior to signing, your team will advise you about the treatment plan and risks involved. It will also mean that having heard the treatment options, the success rates and side effects, you choose to have the radiotherapy sessions.
- Ask for company during the sessions. Having a loved one around is a very huge form of support. It helps in reducing the anxiety; knowing you are not alone. It is also advisable because the therapy may be too exhausting and you may need a ride home.
- Join support groups like THE PEARL OR MANKIND COMMUNITY (Oncopadi breast and prostate cancer online support group). A support group is where you meet people who have experienced exactly what you are experiencing right now or even worse. There, you will meet people who will share ideas on how to adapt to the new situation. How to ensure that no aspect of your life suffers.
- Avoid stressors around this time. Some of these stressors include working long hours, unhealthy or abusive relationships. It is important to surround yourself with positive energy, happy relationships, explore working from home on some days of the week, wear that favorite outfit. Also, while waiting for your sessions, you could pick up and interesting novel or have a loved one keep you company. This is very important because, hey! We have to keep this body happy.
- Adequate Timing and Punctuality is also very important during your radiotherapy sessions. The length of one’s radiotherapy depends on a number of factors like the target location in the body, the amount being treated and the dose per day. Your schedule for the coming week is usually given in the previous week so you have enough time to plan your time. It is advisable you come in about 10-15 minutes prior to your allocated time to allow you fit into your gown and other necessary preparations. The beam-on time, meaning the time the delivery of radiation is taking place is about 20 minutes but prior to this, you must take adequate position to guarantee accuracy. Having a settled mind every time you have a radiotherapy session is important, so please plan your time well.
- Stop Smoking or cut down on it as much as possible. Smoke reduces the likelihood of successful therapy by a lot. We understand it can be difficult to suddenly quit smoking, feel free to speak to chat with the health professionals in Oncopadi digital clinic.
- Arrange your transport: Get the most convenient transportation to the hospital as possible. You can talk to the hospital social worker or clinic receptionist to help you secure a spot at the car park prior to your arrival. In the beginning, you might feel well enough to keep driving yourself to and from the hospital on the days of your radiotherapy sessions. However, as time goes on, it is advisable to go with a friend or family member to drive you back.