Welcome to Central Alabama Radiation Oncology

Thank you for choosing the Central Alabama Radiation Oncology, LLC for your health care services. We are committed to providing world-class care and would like to make your visit with us as pleasant as possible. In this section, you will find information to help make your treatment process at CARO seamless one. We have included instructions on what information you will need for your first visit, patient forms, frequently asked questions, HIPPA and Privacy, and a link to the patient portal where you can fill out your new patient forms online. If there are other questions that we can address, please give us a call at (334) 395-2200 or email us at info@carollc.com.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Radiation Therapy or radiotherapy is the delivery, either externally or internally, of radiation using ionizing radiation to treat cancer and other diseases.

The DNA in cancer cells are damaged keeping the cancer cells from growing and reproducing. The cancer cells die and the cancer shrinks.

It will feel like you are having an x-ray taken. However, possible unwanted side effects may occur. Your skin covering the area affected by radiation therapy may feel like a sunburn. You will need to protect this area from the sun.

Radiation delivered externally will not cause you to become radioactive. Internally delivered radiation through a radioactive implant may limit or restrict visiting time with certain people until the implant is removed. These would include pregnant women and small children. These precautions, if necessary, will be explained by your doctor or nurse.

It is possible that normal cells surrounding the cancer cells being treated may be damaged. You may experience side effects should this occur. The benefits of killing cancer cells usually outweigh the risk of side effects. Your radiation oncologist and your nurse will carefully monitor any side effects.

The type, dose and area of the body being treated with radiation will determine any possible side effects. There are ways to prevent or reduce potential side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you.

Fatigue and skin irritation at the treatment site are the most common side effects. Depending on the dosage and area of the body receiving treatment, other possible side effects may include:

  • If treatment is given to the mouth, throat or neck area, you may experience a sore mouth or throat.
  • If you are being treated in the lung area, you may produce excess mucus and may have a cough.
  • If you are being treated in the abdominal area, you may encounter mild nausea and/or diarrhea.

After 4 to 6 weeks following treatment, most side effects disappear. Long term, you may notice changes in the color and elasticity of the skin where the treatment was given.

There may be medications to counteract some side effects. Before you begin treatment, please discuss any concerns you have about side effects and possible ways to avoid or treat them with your radiation oncologist.

Unless they are being treated in the abdominal area, most patients do not experience any nausea. However, there are effective medicines to reduce or treat nausea, so if you experience nausea, please report it to your doctor as soon as possible.

Unless you are receiving radiation treatment on the head, the hair on your head will not fall out. Some hair loss can be expected in the location where the treatment is performed. You may lose the hair on your arm if that is where you receive radiation therapy, for instance.

Typically, daily treatments, or fractions, are delivered daily Monday through Friday over a 5 to 7 week period of time. You will not be treated on Saturday or Sunday. Each daily treatment takes about 15-30 minutes.

Doctors, known as radiation oncologists, specialize in radiation therapy. Your treatment will be prescribed by your radiation oncologist. The most appropriate method to deliver your treatment will be determined by team of other professionals who will work very closely with your radiation oncologist. Some of the healthcare professionals you may encounter are as follows:

  • Radiation physicists work closely with the doctor in planning your treatment. They are also responsible for maintaining all of the machines to assure that the proper dosage is being delivered.
  • Dosimetrists specialize in determining the radiation dose delivered pursuant to the tumor and surrounding normal tissues in accordance with your treatment plan.
  • Radiation therapists position you and make sure the linear accelerator delivers your treatment properly.
  • Radiation oncology nurses educate you and your family about your treatment plan, coordinate the plan, and manage any side effects you experience.

We always welcome friends and family; however, they will be asked to stay in the waiting room during your treatment. Patients only are allowed in the radiation controlled area when radiation is being administered per federal regulations. It is also respectful of others’ privacy.

Your normal routine, including work or leisure, may continue during radiation treatment. You should maintain a healthy diet and get plenty of sleep. If you get tired, take time to rest.

It would be a long-term health risk for radiation therapists to be in the room with you during treatment. They treat many patients each day and radiation effects accumulate. You will be under constant observation during the treatment. Video cameras and an intercom are in the treatment room, so the therapist can always see and hear you. You will be able to ask for assistance at any time. If you need help, the therapist will terminate the treatment immediately.

The types of brachytherapy administered here at Central Alabama Radiation Oncology are early stage breast cancer and gynecological cancers. Your oncologist will discuss this with you if this treatment is best for you.

Radiation Therapy or radiotherapy is the delivery, either externally or internally, of radiation using ionizing radiation to treat cancer and other diseases.

The DNA in cancer cells are damaged keeping the cancer cells from growing and reproducing. The cancer cells die and the cancer shrinks.

It will feel like you are having an x-ray taken. However, possible unwanted side effects may occur. Your skin covering the area affected by radiation therapy may feel like a sunburn. You will need to protect this area from the sun.

Radiation delivered externally will not cause you to become radioactive. Internally delivered radiation through a radioactive implant may limit or restrict visiting time with certain people until the implant is removed. These would include pregnant women and small children. These precautions, if necessary, will be explained by your doctor or nurse.

It is possible that normal cells surrounding the cancer cells being treated may be damaged. You may experience side effects should this occur. The benefits of killing cancer cells usually outweigh the risk of side effects. Your radiation oncologist and your nurse will carefully monitor any side effects.

The type, dose and area of the body being treated with radiation will determine any possible side effects. There are ways to prevent or reduce potential side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you.

Fatigue and skin irritation at the treatment site are the most common side effects. Depending on the dosage and area of the body receiving treatment, other possible side effects may include:

  • If treatment is given to the mouth, throat or neck area, you may experience a sore mouth or throat.
  • If you are being treated in the lung area, you may produce excess mucus and may have a cough.
  • If you are being treated in the abdominal area, you may encounter mild nausea and/or diarrhea.

After 4 to 6 weeks following treatment, most side effects disappear. Long term, you may notice changes in the color and elasticity of the skin where the treatment was given.

There may be medications to counteract some side effects. Before you begin treatment, please discuss any concerns you have about side effects and possible ways to avoid or treat them with your radiation oncologist.

Unless they are being treated in the abdominal area, most patients do not experience any nausea. However, there are effective medicines to reduce or treat nausea, so if you experience nausea, please report it to your doctor as soon as possible.

Unless you are receiving radiation treatment on the head, the hair on your head will not fall out. Some hair loss can be expected in the location where the treatment is performed. You may lose the hair on your arm if that is where you receive radiation therapy, for instance.

Typically, daily treatments, or fractions, are delivered daily Monday through Friday over a 5 to 7 week period of time. You will not be treated on Saturday or Sunday. Each daily treatment takes about 15-30 minutes.

Doctors, known as radiation oncologists, specialize in radiation therapy. Your treatment will be prescribed by your radiation oncologist. The most appropriate method to deliver your treatment will be determined by team of other professionals who will work very closely with your radiation oncologist. Some of the healthcare professionals you may encounter are as follows:

  • Radiation physicists work closely with the doctor in planning your treatment. They are also responsible for maintaining all of the machines to assure that the proper dosage is being delivered.
  • Dosimetrists specialize in determining the radiation dose delivered pursuant to the tumor and surrounding normal tissues in accordance with your treatment plan.
  • Radiation therapists position you and make sure the linear accelerator delivers your treatment properly.
  • Radiation oncology nurses educate you and your family about your treatment plan, coordinate the plan, and manage any side effects you experience.

We always welcome friends and family; however, they will be asked to stay in the waiting room during your treatment. Patients only are allowed in the radiation controlled area when radiation is being administered per federal regulations. It is also respectful of others’ privacy.

Your normal routine, including work or leisure, may continue during radiation treatment. You should maintain a healthy diet and get plenty of sleep. If you get tired, take time to rest.

It would be a long-term health risk for radiation therapists to be in the room with you during treatment. They treat many patients each day and radiation effects accumulate. You will be under constant observation during the treatment. Video cameras and an intercom are in the treatment room, so the therapist can always see and hear you. You will be able to ask for assistance at any time. If you need help, the therapist will terminate the treatment immediately.

The types of brachytherapy administered here at Central Alabama Radiation Oncology are early stage breast cancer and gynecological cancers. Your oncologist will discuss this with you if this treatment is best for you.

Cancer Types

Cancer Types

In the United States, more than 20,000 new cases of brain cancer are reported each year. Brain tumors are abnormal growths of cells in the brain. There are two types of brain cancer, primary and metastatic. Primary brain cancer originates in the brain and it occurs when one type of cell transforms from its normal characteristics. Once transformed, the cells grow and multiply in abnormal ways. As the abnormal cells grow, they become a mass or tumor. Metastatic brain cancer tumors are made from cancerous cells from a tumor located elsewhere in the body. This is the most common type of brain cancer.

At Central Alabama Radiation Oncology, we treat both primary and metastatic brain cancer. A patient diagnosed with a brain tumor, whether the tumor is primary or metastatic, will have a custom made facemask to aid with their radiotherapy treatments. The mask has holes throughout it so that the patient can both see and breathe freely. The number of treatments a patient receives is dependent on the doctor’s review of their specific case.

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women; however male breast cancer is not uncommon and should be taken seriously. Breast cancer stages vary widely. The type of radiation therapy used to treat breast cancer also varies and depends, to a great extent, on the stage of cancer and whether surgery has been performed.

Breast cancer can be treated with two types of radiation – external beam radiation and Brachytherapy. Brachytherapy involves the implantation of radioactive material near the site of the cancer. Your radiation oncologist will counsel you on the most effective type of radiation therapy for your treatment.

A typical breast cancer patient will receive 33-36 treatments, depending on the doctor’s orders. The patient will have marks on their skin that will facilitate their radiation therapist with their daily setup. Furthermore, the patient will have a customized immobilization device to aid in the daily setup for their radiation treatments.

Head and Neck cancers start in the mouth, nose, throat, or sinus areas. They usually begin in the cells that make up the moist, thin tissues that line the inside of the mouth, nose and throat. Head and neck cancer does not include brain cancer.

The treatment for head and neck cancers vary and depend upon a number of factors such as exact location of the tumor, stage of the cancer and the patient’s age and general health. You and your physician will consider treatment options carefully and develop a radiation treatment plan.

Lung cancer occurs when cells of the lung start growing rapidly in an uncontrolled manner. There are two main types of lung cancer – small-cell lung cancer (SCLC, also called oat cell cancer) and non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Small-cell lung cancer accounts for approximately 10% – 15% of all cases of lung cancer.

Radiation therapy may be recommended for both SCLC and NSCLC, sometimes in combination with chemotherapy. A lung patient typically receives 36 treatments. The number of treatments depends on the doctor’s orders regarding the staging of the particular case. A lung patient will have a custom made treatment device molded around them placing their arms above their head to assist with their daily radiation therapy setup. The patient will have 3 marks on their skin that will be used for setup for their daily treatments.

Prostate cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among men. Your prostate cancer treatment options will be discussed thoroughly with your physician.

Treatment of prostate cancer with radiation can be delivered in two ways – external beam radiation delivered by one of Central Alabama Radiation Oncology’s state of the art machines; or internal radiation (brachytherapy) delivered through radioactive material placed into the affected area.

A prostate patient will receive between 39-45 treatments, depending on the doctor’s orders. The patient will have 3 marks on their skin that will be used for setup of daily treatments. To facilitate the treatment, prostate patients are asked to drink at least 16 oz. of water 30 minutes prior to receiving their daily treatment.

Other types of cancers that we treat at Central Alabama Radiation Oncology include skin, cervical, colorectal, bladder, kidney and ovarian, among others. More information on these types of cancers and their treatment can be found in the Helpful Links section.

In the United States, more than 20,000 new cases of brain cancer are reported each year. Brain tumors are abnormal growths of cells in the brain. There are two types of brain cancer, primary and metastatic. Primary brain cancer originates in the brain and it occurs when one type of cell transforms from its normal characteristics. Once transformed, the cells grow and multiply in abnormal ways. As the abnormal cells grow, they become a mass or tumor. Metastatic brain cancer tumors are made from cancerous cells from a tumor located elsewhere in the body. This is the most common type of brain cancer.

At Central Alabama Radiation Oncology, we treat both primary and metastatic brain cancer. A patient diagnosed with a brain tumor, whether the tumor is primary or metastatic, will have a custom made facemask to aid with their radiotherapy treatments. The mask has holes throughout it so that the patient can both see and breathe freely. The number of treatments a patient receives is dependent on the doctor’s review of their specific case.

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women; however male breast cancer is not uncommon and should be taken seriously. Breast cancer stages vary widely. The type of radiation therapy used to treat breast cancer also varies and depends, to a great extent, on the stage of cancer and whether surgery has been performed.

Breast cancer can be treated with two types of radiation – external beam radiation and Brachytherapy. Brachytherapy involves the implantation of radioactive material near the site of the cancer. Your radiation oncologist will counsel you on the most effective type of radiation therapy for your treatment.

A typical breast cancer patient will receive 33-36 treatments, depending on the doctor’s orders. The patient will have marks on their skin that will facilitate their radiation therapist with their daily setup. Furthermore, the patient will have a customized immobilization device to aid in the daily setup for their radiation treatments.

Head and Neck cancers start in the mouth, nose, throat, or sinus areas. They usually begin in the cells that make up the moist, thin tissues that line the inside of the mouth, nose and throat. Head and neck cancer does not include brain cancer.

The treatment for head and neck cancers vary and depend upon a number of factors such as exact location of the tumor, stage of the cancer and the patient’s age and general health. You and your physician will consider treatment options carefully and develop a radiation treatment plan.

Lung cancer occurs when cells of the lung start growing rapidly in an uncontrolled manner. There are two main types of lung cancer – small-cell lung cancer (SCLC, also called oat cell cancer) and non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Small-cell lung cancer accounts for approximately 10% – 15% of all cases of lung cancer.

Radiation therapy may be recommended for both SCLC and NSCLC, sometimes in combination with chemotherapy. A lung patient typically receives 36 treatments. The number of treatments depends on the doctor’s orders regarding the staging of the particular case. A lung patient will have a custom made treatment device molded around them placing their arms above their head to assist with their daily radiation therapy setup. The patient will have 3 marks on their skin that will be used for setup for their daily treatments.

Prostate cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among men. Your prostate cancer treatment options will be discussed thoroughly with your physician.

Treatment of prostate cancer with radiation can be delivered in two ways – external beam radiation delivered by one of Central Alabama Radiation Oncology’s state of the art machines; or internal radiation (brachytherapy) delivered through radioactive material placed into the affected area.

A prostate patient will receive between 39-45 treatments, depending on the doctor’s orders. The patient will have 3 marks on their skin that will be used for setup of daily treatments. To facilitate the treatment, prostate patients are asked to drink at least 16 oz. of water 30 minutes prior to receiving their daily treatment.

Other types of cancers that we treat at Central Alabama Radiation Oncology include skin, cervical, colorectal, bladder, kidney and ovarian, among others. More information on these types of cancers and their treatment can be found in the Helpful Links section.
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