Radiation Oncology FAQs

Where is the Radiation Oncology Department located?
We are located on the Saint Francis Hospital main campus at 61st and Yale Avenue. Please enter through the north/Cancer Center entrance across the circle drive from The Children's Hospital at Saint Francis. Our address is 6161 S. Yale Avenue, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 74136.

Where should I park?
There is free valet parking available for our patients from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To utilize this service, park your car at the north/Cancer Center entrance and take your keys to the valet inside the sliding doors.

What should I bring when I come for my initial consultation?
For the first consultation you should bring your insurance card, current list of medications and any questions you have for your doctor. We recommend you bring one friend or family member with you to help ask questions or to take notes during your consultation.

Will I receive a radiation treatment on my first visit?
Most patients will not receive treatment on their first day. After speaking with the doctor and deciding on a course of treatment, you will be given an appointment to come back for a treatment planning computed tomography (CT). This CT is not diagnostic in nature; it is merely an advanced tool to aid in the accuracy of your radiation therapy planning.

How long does the treatment planning CT take? Will I be closed in?
The treatment planning CT generally takes about an hour. Our CT scanner is an open CT, meaning the patient will not be closed in. Patients should lie still and breathe normally during the scan. The radiation oncologist will review any special aids we might use during your treatment planning CT during the initial consultation.

What is a treatment tattoo? Are treatment marks permanent?
Treatment tattoos are tiny permanent dots the size of a freckle used to position you for treatment. Although most patients will have both tattoos and sharpie marks, only the tattoos are permanent. If this is a concern, please tell your physician and an alternative can be arranged.

What is the Trilogy machine and what can it do?
The Trilogy machine is one of the newest linear accelerators on the market. Due to its versatility we are able to provide all of the following on one machine: Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT), 3D Conformal Radiation, Fractionated Stereotactic Radiation Therapy, and Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS).

Can I eat or drink before I come for treatment?
Generally there are no restrictions on when you eat or drink while undergoing treatment. However, are a few exceptions:

  • Patients receiving treatment in the prostate area should consume 16 oz. of water one hour prior to their treatment planning CT. They should all drink 16 oz. of water one hour prior to their daily treatment and not empty the bladder until treatment is complete for the day.
  • Patients receiving treatment in the abdomen may receive special dietary instructions or medications if nausea or vomiting occurs following treatment. These special instructions or medications are designed to help aid the patient throughout treatment.

What do I need to wear for my treatments?
Comfortable clothing that can be removed easily if necessary.

What are port films and why do you take them every week? Can you see my cancer?
Port films are non-diagnostic X-rays that confirm the treatment area and allow your physician to verify that you are being treated correctly on the first day and on a weekly basis. Taking them will generally add 10 minutes to your regular treatment time length. Unfortunately, only bony anatomy (not soft tissue) is visible on our films.

Does treatment hurt?
The treatment itself does not cause pain. However, during treatment the patient will be required to hold the treatment position for an extended period while lying on the treatment table which can cause some discomfort.

What happens if I sneeze or cough during a treatment?
The therapist will be able to see and hear you throughout your treatment via video camera. If you happen to move the therapist will stop your treatment and come in the room to verify you are still positioned correctly.

Will I give off radiation while receiving external radiation treatments?
No.

Will I lose my hair during radiation?
You will only experience hair loss if your scalp is being radiated. Radiation therapy is very precise and site specific. The only area affected will be the treatment area.

Is it necessary for me to come to treatment every day? What if I am sick and miss a day? What if I have chemotherapy on a day I have radiation?
Radiation treatments are generally scheduled Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Your physician recommends you come for treatment as scheduled unless other arrangements are made. It is important you receive the total number of treatments prescribed by your radiation oncologist for the best possible results. However, if missing a treatment is necessary, please discuss it with the therapist and radiation oncologist. The clinic is closed Saturday and Sunday, as well as major holidays.

What is the most common side effect of radiation?
Fatigue is the most common side effect experienced by radiation patients. This is dependent on the area treated and how many treatments you will receive. It is important to remember all patients are unique and may have varying reactions to treatment.