Cancer Care

We’ve Pioneered Radiation Oncology Treatments in the South Bay Area

Whether you are traveling to us from a long distance or coming from a close-by neighborhood, Good Samaritan Hospital is a recognized leader in providing Bay Area communities with the latest advanced, high-quality outpatient radiation oncology treatments. We have treated thousands of patients over the years.

It’s comforting to know the level of care you want is right here, close to your support network of family, friends and community, and if not, we can assist you in creating a local support team.

"Like most cancer patients, I have an added appreciation for how precious life is."

Read Geoffrey's Story

What to Expect from Radiation Therapy

What are the advantages of radiation therapy?

Radiation therapy can be used for treating cancers located in any part of the body. It has the advantage of being a localized treatment useful in the management of cancers that cannot be treated successfully by surgery or chemotherapy alone. Also, this therapy can reduce the size of a tumor so it can be safely removed.

How long is a typical radiation therapy session?

You can usually expect to be on the therapy table for about 15 to 20 minutes. Additional time may be needed if it is necessary to reposition the treatment area. CyberKnife radiosurgery takes longer.

Is radiation therapy painful?

No. However, if you have a physical condition, such as a back problem, lying in position on the therapy table may cause you to experience some discomfort

Will I lose my hair?

Radiation therapy does not cause hair loss unless it is aimed at a part of the body that grows hair, such as the scalp.

Can I drive and continue my other normal daily activities immediately after having a treatment?

Yes, in most cases. The majority of patients continue to work and drive throughout their treatment regimen.

Can I be around my children and grandchildren during my radiation therapy regimen?

Yes. There is no danger or restrictions to being around your family. The majority of patients on radiation therapy receive external radiation and are not radioactive after therapy.

What side effects should I expect from radiation therapy?

Every patient is different, and it depends on the radiation site. The most common side effects are fatigue and skin changes, which can result from radiation exposure to any treatment site. Other side effects are related to treatment of specific areas, and your doctor will discuss these with you.

What will my treatment schedule be?

You will have daily treatments on weekdays until completion of the treatment plan, anywhere from 5 to 9 weeks, depending on the treatment site. Treatments usually last about 10 to 20 minutes.

What is Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS)?

‚Äč Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) is not surgery, but rather, an intense form of radiation therapy that obliterates the treatment target. It uses an external radiation source, either a linear accelerator or a CyberKnife, to deliver many small beams of radiation directly to the target site in a single fraction. One example target is a brain tumor. Because of the technology’s extreme precision, adjacent structures are not affected.

What will happen during my first consultation?

Your first consultation with the radiation oncologist should last up to an hour and a half. Family members are welcome to accompany you. The nurse will check your vital signs and review paperwork. The physician will examine the affected area. He or she will talk with you and arrange for a planning CT simulation to be done.

How soon will therapy begin after my initial appointment with the radiation oncologist?

Radiation therapy sessions usually begin 1½ to 2 weeks after the CT simulation is finished, to allow for treatment planning.

How do I prepare for my first consultation?

Prepare a list of questions you have and bring them with you to the consultation. Consider having a family member or close friend accompany you to help learn and remember the information and to ask questions.

After the first consultation, what are the next steps?

Y our next visit will be for the planning CT simulation. You should plan to be here for 1 to 2 hours. At that time, you will sign the consent forms for treatment. The nurses will educate you about how to manage any side effects you may experience and will give you additional literature about what to expect. After this appointment, the nurses are available by phone during business hours to answer any further questions or concerns you may have.

Once the CT simulation is finished, the images are reviewed by the radiation oncologist who will develop a treatment plan, working closely with our physicist. This takes about 1½ to 2 weeks. The day before treatment is scheduled to begin, verification X-rays will be taken. This is a "dress rehearsal" in final preparation for treatment. The doctor will review the X-rays to confirm that everything is aligned for treatment. The doctor must approve the films before treatment can begin.

Good Samaritan Cares

Your opinion matters. We want to hear from you.

Send Us Your Feedback