FAQ

1. How do I make an appointment?
Hazelrig-Salter Radiation Oncology Center
To schedule a new patient appointment, please call (205) 934-5671, or toll free at (888) 784-9013.

The Kirklin Clinic at Acton Road
To schedule a new patient appointment, please call 205-978-0250 or 877-978-0250 toll free.

Caring, trained representatives will coordinate your appointment for you, making your arrival as seamless and stress-free as possible. They will also assist established patients in rescheduling clinic appointments along with any ancillary procedures and/or tests, infusions, or radiation appointments.

2. What happen when I arrive to my first visit?
Upon arrival, you will proceed to the Reception area, located on the first floor, convenient to the Valet Parking drop-off area. You will be greeted by our team of Patient Service Specialists who are eager to assist you and answer any preliminary questions you might have about your appointment.

On your initial visit, we will ask you to complete various forms. During each treatment visit, and as a part of our treatment safety program, you will be asked to present identification. During doctor visits, you may also be asked to make your co-payment for that day’s visit.

We ask that you bring to following items to each appointment:

  • Photo Identification
  • Insurance Card
  • Co-payment
  • Medications, in their original containers
  • Current medication record
  • Completed medical history form (first visit only)

3. What is simulation?
Simulation determines the exact location and size of your tumor using a machine that is similar to a CT machine. Detailed images or your tumor are captured and transferred to the treatment planning computer so that a treatment plan, completely unique to your disease site, can be developed.

As part of the simulation process, a contrast agent may be administrated so that the cancerous area can be better visualized. It also may be necessary for an immobilization device to be constructed. This will help you remain completely still during treatment, as the delivery of radiation must be precise.

4. Why do I need to get marks or “tattoos” on my body for radiation treatment?
To help the therapist align you on the treatment table for daily radiation delivery, marks will be placed on your skin with either a blue permanent marker or small tattoo. It is very important to protect these marks and to notify our staff if they begin to fade.

5.What is treatment planning and what does it involve?
Treatment planning is a very important first step for every patient who will have radiation therapy. A team of dosimetrists carefully calculate the dose of radiation prescribed by your radiation oncologist to make sure the tumor gets the prescribed dosage. Using computers, they work to develop a number of treatment plans that can best destroy the tumor while sparing normal tissue. Since treatment plans are often very complex, dosimetrists work with your radiation oncologist and medical physicist to develop a treatment plan that is right for you.

6.What is radiation therapy?
Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, is the use of various forms of radiation to safely and effectively treat cancer and other diseases. Radiation therapy may be used to:

  • Destroy tumors that have not spread to other parts of your body and cure you of disease.
  • Reduce the risk that cancer will return after you undergo surgery or chemotherapy by killing small amounts of cancer that might remain.
  • Shrink the cancer before surgery. Read more

7. What does radiation therapy feel like and how long does the treatment last?
Patients can not see, smell, taste, hear or feel radiation treatment. The actual radiation treatments are very similar to getting an X-ray.

Depending on your specific plan, the actual treatment time will be 5-20 minutes. Radiation treatments are typically delivered five days a week for a period of four to seven weeks; however, this can vary depending on your individual treatment regimen.

8. What happen during my radiation treatment?
From reception, you will be taken to the radiation treatment area where there are Men’s and Women’s dressing rooms. You’ll be asked to change into a gown, which will be worn during each treatment. When the radiation therapists are prepared to deliver your treatment, you will be escorted into the radiation suite and asked to lie on the treatment table. The marks placed during simulation will be used as a guide to position you properly. During the delivery of radiation, the therapist will be stationed at the control console, immediately outside the door, but will be able to see you and communicate with you.

While undergoing treatment, you will see your radiation oncologist at least weekly and your radiation nurse will be available to you daily. During visits, your questions and concerns will be addressed and your pain will be assessed. If you experience any side effects from the radiation, it is extremely important that you alert your nurse immediately.

9. Will I become radioactive?
In most types of treatment your body will NOT become radioactive. If you are to take a type of treatment that makes your body temporarily radioactive this will be discussed with you by your physician and you will be provided with instructions to minimize radiation risk to those around you.

10. What are the most common site effects?
Most of the side effects of radiation therapy are limited to the area that received radiation. For example, a breast cancer patient may notice skin irritation on her chest, like a mild to moderate sunburn, while a patient with cancer in the mouth may have soreness when he swallows. Some patients who are having their midsection treated may report feeling sick to their stomach or diarrhea.

The side effect most often reported by patients receiving radiation is fatigue, sometimes described as an "overall blah feeling." The tiredness patients experience is usually mild or moderate and it different for each patient. Fatigue may also relate to the area being treated and the other therapies, such as chemotherapy, the patient is receiving. Learn more

11. Will my insurance cover my radiation therapy treatments?
As a participating provider with your health care plan, our knowledgeable and helpful staff will obtain the necessary pre-certifications and authorizations. Depending upon the terms of your coverage, you should anticipate some out-of-pocket expenses, such as co-payments, co-insurance, and a deductible. Many times, patients choose to come to our facility even though they are “out of network.” In this case, the insurance company is billed as a courtesy, but any unpaid charges remain the patient’s responsibility.

12. How do I pay for my radiation treatments if I am an international?
If you are non-resident of the United States and do not have U.S.-accredited insurance coverage, payment options are available. Please contact us so that we may provide all the information you need to complete your payment.

We accept all the following credit cards:

  • Visa
  • Master Card
  • American Express

13. Will I lose my hair?
Hair loss (alopecia) during radiation treatment only occurs in the areas where the patient receives direct radiation. For example, scalp hair will only be affected if the head receives radiation. Hair loss may be temporary or permanent, depending on the amount of radiation received and other treatments you may be receiving, such as chemotherapy. If your hair loss is temporary, it will probably re-grow about 3 to 6 months after your treatment is complete. You may notice that the re-growth of hair is thinner or a different texture.

14. Does radiation therapy cause nausea?
Radiation therapy affects only those areas being treated. If the patient is receiving radiation therapy to the stomach or small intestine then the patient may experience some nausea from the treatment. Patients receiving radiation treatment to the brain can sometimes experience nausea. Often times, the nausea may be caused by chemotherapy treatments or other medications (most commonly pain medicines).

15. Will I feel any pain from the radiation treatment?
There is usually no pain associated with the radiation treatments. It is very much like having an X-ray taken. But the side effects that people may get from radiation therapy can cause pain or discomfort. Sometimes a sunburn effect may cause the area to be tender.

16. Is radiation therapy used with other types of cancer treatment?
Yes, radiation therapy is often used with other cancer treatments. Here are some examples:

Radiation therapy and surgery. Radiation may be given before, during, or after surgery. Doctors may use radiation to shrink the size of the cancer before surgery, or they may use radiation after surgery to kill any cancer cells that remain. Sometimes, radiation therapy is given during surgery so that it goes straight to the cancer without passing through the skin. This is called intraoperative radiation.

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Radiation may be given before, during, or after chemotherapy. Before or during chemotherapy, radiation therapy can shrink the cancer so that chemotherapy works better. Sometimes, chemotherapy is given to help radiation therapy work better. After chemotherapy, radiation therapy can be used to kill any cancer cells that remain.