What to expect Post Radiation
What does life look like post radiation? How often will I have to see the doctor? When can I go back to my “normal” routines? These are common questions that patients have when their radiation treatment comes to an end.
Daily routines or activities post radiation may be different than before radiation. Some patients may need time to recover physically and will regain energy levels at a slower pace. They may also experience bladder and bowel symptoms as well as changes in sexual health. They may find themselves more emotional as they adjust to life after radiation. This is a great time to reach out to family and friends and support groups in the community.
It is important to monitor PSA and to address any side effects after treatment. Open communication with your doctor is crucial. Follow-up care may include regular visits to your urologist as well as the radiation oncologist. Typically the PSA is ordered every three to six months. It may take two years for the PSA to reach its lowest level (Nadir), so it is important to monitor a trend in the results over a period of time.
When visiting the radiation oncologist and urologist after radiation, you should discuss any of the following concerns:
- Any on-going symptoms such as persistent fatigue, weight gain or loss, trouble sleeping, bladder or bowel changes, and concerns with sexual activity.
- Any signs and symptoms of illness that are new or have changed since your last visit.
- Pain that is either new or that keeps you from normal daily activities.
- Emotional health such as anxiety or depression.
- Any changes in medications or supplements.
Follow-up care might also include creating a survivorship plan. This plan is helpful for managing future healthcare needs by compiling a comprehensive collection of your medical records. A survivorship plan may include the following:
- A complete record of your medical history including major illnesses, surgeries and family history of illness or cancer.
- A list of all tests performed (labs, imagining, and pathology reports).
- Radiation treatment dates (location treated and dosage).
- List of all physicians/providers and care facilities.
- List of community support groups.
Contact the Austin Center for Radiation Oncology to schedule a consultation.