How will I know if radiation therapy is working?


Q: How will I know if radiation therapy is working? 

A: This is the question that most patients and families want answered, especially at the beginning of treatment. Radiation therapy kills cancer cells at the molecular level. Even though treatment starts working right away, cell kill cannot be measured for a significant amount of time. You will go through many treatments before your doctor will order scans to detect response.

Your health care team may be able to give you a general timetable for monitoring response, but that can change. Often before your scans are ordered, you'll feel a difference internally. Remember, you are the expert on how you are feeling. Your input is vital as you partner with your health care team.
--Bernice Crook, RN, OCN

Understand the variety of tests that may be used to measure your response to treatment.

This content was last reviewed August 15, 2010 by Dr. Reshma L. Mahtani.
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