Frequently Asked Questions
1) How are referrals to ROS obtained?
Your primary care physician or oncology specialist generally makes a referral to ROS. Questions about the referral process can be answered by calling ROS at 770-994-1650. You may also email Cathy Speir at Cspeir@rosonline.net.
2) Can I obtain a consultation from ROS and then receive treatment elsewhere?
It is our goal to accommodate your needs in any way possible. Certainly, if you want or need to be treated elsewhere, we will be happy to help make those arrangements.
3) Does my insurance cover radiation therapy?
Fortunately, most insurance companies pay for radiation therapy. We offer individual financial counseling for all patients prior to the initiation of treatment so that you will know exactly what to expect from your insurance company.
4) Is transportation provided for daily radiation therapy?
Patients are responsible for their own transportation. However, if you have a problem with transportation to and from treatment, please discuss the situation with the ROS staff. Each of our centers can provide you with the transportation resources in your area.
5) Can I receive radiation therapy close to home?
ROS is known for providing quality radiation therapy in a comfortable community setting. Our treatment centers are associated with Atlanta’s leading hospitals. Please check our locations map for the ROS center that is most convenient to you.
6) Will I see my referring doctor during treatment at ROS?
We work very closely with all your doctors to ensure you receive the best cancer care possible. Your ROS physician will see you frequently during your radiation treatment. If you have any side effects from the treatment, your ROS team of doctors and nurses will take good care of you. You are also encouraged to see your referring doctor at anytime you or your ROS physician feel it is necessary. Your referring doctor will be informed of your progress during the treatment. At the completion of treatment, we will help you schedule follow-up appointments with both your referring doctor and ROS physician.
7) How long does a typical radiation treatment last?
A typical daily treatment lasts only a few minutes. A course of treatment is given daily Monday through Friday for several weeks depending on the circumstance. Your ROS physician will outline a treatment plan that is uniquely tailored to meet your needs. You will have plenty of opportunity to discuss the plan with your doctor and nurse.
8) What side effects can I expect?
The good news is that most patients tolerate radiation therapy very well. Each individual treatment is painless. The overall effect of the treatment course depends on a number of factors including where in the body the treatment is given, how much radiation is required to kill the cancer, whether or not chemotherapy is given with the radiation, the patient’s age and other medical problems. Your ROS team of physicians and nurses will spend considerable time with you explaining exactly what you can expect. Fortunately, most side effects can be easily managed with medications. In the event of more serious side effects, please know that we will take care of you and do what is necessary to help you through your treatment course.
9) Will radiation make my hair fall out?
Hair loss from radiation therapy depends on what area of the body actually receives radiation. For example, a patient with a brain tumor receiving radiation to the brain will in fact have some hair loss. In contrast, a lung cancer patient will not lose any hair because the radiation is directed at the lung and not the head. Sometimes radiation and chemotherapy are used in combination and patients may experience hair loss even though the head is not getting any radiation. In that situation, the hair loss is a side effect of chemotherapy.
10) Will I be radioactive during my radiation treatment?
You are not considered radioactive while receiving external radiation therapy. You will not pass the radiation to anyone nor will the objects you touch be radioactive. It is perfectly safe to be around your family and friends.
11) Why do some patients receive radiation therapy for their cancer and others do not?
Every type of cancer is unique in its development, symptoms, treatment and prognosis. In general, cancer treatment involves the integration of three different medical specialties: surgery, medical oncology and radiation oncology. Some cancers require only surgery; others require the combination of all three specialties. The best treatment for each type of cancer has been determined over years of intense scientific research and by large studies involving thousands of patients. Your team of ROS cancer specialists will discuss all the different treatment options and combinations of treatments that are best for you.
12) Which cancers are best treated with radiation therapy?
Interestingly, radiation therapy plays a role in the treatment of most cancers. The most common cancers treated in our centers include cancers of the lung, prostate, breast, colon, rectum, gynecologic organs, bladder, brain, bone and skin. Pediatric cancers are mainly treated in university hospitals that specialize in the treatment of these rare cancers.
13) What is the difference between radiation and chemotherapy?
Both radiation therapy and chemotherapy kill cancer. Radiation is the use of high-powered x-rays to kill cancer in a very specific location in the body. In contrast, chemotherapy is drug therapy that circulates throughout the body to kill cancer cells that may have spread from the original site of disease.
14) Why is radiation sometimes given with chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy kill cancer in different ways. Chemotherapy is drug therapy that circulates through the body to kill any cancer cells that may have escaped from the original site of the cancer. Radiation therapy kills cancer by directly bombarding it with high-powered x-rays. In some situations, chemotherapy and radiation are given together because the chemotherapy can make the cancer more sensitive to radiation, thus helping the radiation kill cancer more effectively. A combination of the two therapies is given when the effects of both treatments are more beneficial than either treatment given alone.
15) What is the difference between external radiation therapy and brachytherapy?
Radiation therapy — whether in the form of external radiation or brachytherapy (sometimes called internal radiation) — is the use of high-powered x-rays to kill cancer. The difference between the two forms is in how the x-rays are created. In the case of external beam radiation, the x-rays come from a machine that focuses the x-rays onto the cancer from outside the body. A daily treatment gives a dose of radiation in a few minutes. A course of external beam radiation is given Monday through Friday for several weeks. With brachytherapy, the x-rays come from small pellets/seeds that are placed directly into or next to the cancer. A high dose of radiation is trapped within the cancer and very little radiation reaches the surrounding healthy organs. Some cancers are best treated with external radiation and some require brachytherapy. Occasionally, both approaches are used in combination. Your ROS physician will discuss which radiation treatment method is best for your cancer. For more information, see External Beam Radiation Therapy or Brachytherapy.
16) For more information about ROS: Contact us.