Free Cancer Report

Know Your Cancer

Radiation therapy Safety for the patient and family

Doctors have safely and successfully used Radiation therapy to cure cancer for more than 100 years.

Having radiation treatment significantly raises the risk of contracting a second cancer. But for many patients, radiation treatment kills the current cancer. That advantage is better than the slight chance that the procedure will cause a new cancer.

During external-beam radiation therapy, the patient does not become radioactive. Yet the cancer remains in the recovery room.

Nevertheless, internal radiation treatment allows the patient to give off radiation. As a result, visitors should follow these safety measures:

  • Do not visit the patient if you are pregnant or younger than 18.
  • Stay at least 6 feet from the patient’s room.
  • Limit your stay to 30 minutes or less each day.

Permanent implants remain radioactive after the patient leaves the hospital. Because of this, the patient should not have close or more than 5 minutes of contact with children or pregnant women for 2 months.

Similarly, people who have had systemic Radiation therapy should use safety precautions. For the first few days after diagnosis, take these precautions:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet.
  • Use separate utensils and towels.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to flush the remaining radioactive material from the body.
  • Avoid sexual contact.
  • Minimize interaction with babies, teenagers, and pregnant women