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External-Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT) For Prostate Cancer

Steps To Take While Waiting For Treatment To Start

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  • Schedule a dental check up. Oral infections can worsen the effects of radiation.
  • Find out if there are any medications, supplements, herbs or vitamins you take that should be discontinued during treatment. If there are, check with the doctor who prescribed them to let him or her know what is happening and find out if you should be doing something else during treatment.
  • Learn about the other side effects that frequently occur with radiation and how to eliminate or minimize them. Get prescriptions for medications that may minimize or help you cope with such side effects. Prescriptions don't cost anything until you have them filled. If you have the prescriptions, you can fill them without delay if the need arises. 
  • If you smoke, use the treatment as a trigger to stop. 
    • Stopping can help improve the body’s response to treatment, and lessen complications and side effects.
    • If you quit permanently, stopping can decrease the risk of recurrence and enhance survival. (To learn how to quit smoking, click here). 
  • If you use recreational drugs, let your doctor know. They may interfere with treatment.
  • If you want to have children in the future, ask if a treatment could affect your ability to have them. If so, consider banking your sperm before the treatment starts.
  • Consider taking a tour of the area where radiation will be administered and any other location where you will be spending time. This way you will know what to expect. You'll also get a better idea of what to bring with you to make yourself comfortable.
  • Speak with the radiologist about creams to purchase to reduce possible skin soreness. Test a small amount to be sure you don't have any adverse effects.
  • If you are uncomfortable in institutional hospital gowns, consider creating your own or purchasing one that will be more comfortable than the one supplied by the facility. You can find gowns online(for example, through offsite link) or create your own. For a pattern, see the document in To Learn More.
  • Think about how you are going to get to and from appointments. If needed, American Cancer Society can help arrange transportation with its group of volunteer drivers. Call 800.ACS.2345. The more notice you give the Society, the more likely it can find a volunteer to fill your needs. The Society can also point you to available public transportation in your area.
  • Ask your doctor about changes to start making in your diet to build your system with nutrients that the treatment may affect. The doctor may recommend you speak with a nutritionist/dietitian. Perhaps you should also be taking a multi-vitamin and/or supplements.
  • Stock up on your comfort foods, including some in your freezer that you can defrost as needed. When you freeze foods for this period, make the portions smaller than usual for those occasions when you don't feel like eating a lot.

Last, but not least, check your health insurance policy to determine how much, if at all, you will be out of pocket. If you don't have health insurance, start thinking about how to pay for the treatment. (See the documents in "To Learn More.")

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