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William Newton Hospital partners with top oncology professionals to provide the latest treatment technologies right here in Winfield, KS. The Cancer Center of Kansas and Winfield Cancer Center/Via Christi are located in the Winfield Healthcare Center.

  • Physician Appointments
  • Blood Disorder Treatment
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation Therapy
  • C.T. & M.R. Imaging
  • Hospitalization

Radiation Therapy: Frequently Asked Questions

If you have never had any previous experience with Radiation Oncology, the prospect of using radiation as a treatment can be a bit scary. To make matters worse, a simple Internet search can result in some off-putting stories. Most of these stories come from extreme cases in radiation therapy or are related to older technology.

Current treatments are much easier to tolerate than they use to be. Advancements in patient positioning, treatment planning, and the machines used for treatment, have resulted in considerably higher degrees of accuracy. This means that physicians can reduce the amount of healthy tissue that is included resulting in fewer side effects.

We want your experience to be a positive one. As a first step, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions in the hopes that we can address some of the more common concerns.

How does radiation therapy work?

Radiation therapy uses high energy X-rays or electrons to make small breaks in the DNA inside cells. Normal cells are better equipped to repair the damage, but these breaks prevent cancer cells from dividing and cause them to die. Radiation treatments are typically given in small doses, five days a week. This gives the normal cells time to heal between treatments.linear accelerator WNH

What types of cancer are you able to treat in your facility?

Radiation therapy is an effective means of treating many types of cancers in almost any part of the body. Most cancer patients receive radiation at some point throughout their treatment. And for many patients, radiation is the only treatment needed.

Can I do chemo and radiation in the same building?

Yes. Our cancer center in Winfield, and the local medical oncologist are located within the same building.

How long does the treatment take?

Each treatment takes approximately 15 minutes. Depending upon the treatment plan, a patient can expect to be at Winfield Radiation Oncology five days a week, for several weeks.

What are the benefits of radiation therapy?

Radiation therapy is a localized treatment, meaning it targets a specific area of the body. As a result, side effects will typically be limited to the area of treatment. It can be used to manage cancers that cannot be treated successfully by surgery or chemotherapy alone. And sometimes radiation can be used with chemotherapy to enhance the effects of both types of treatment.

Will the treatments hurt?

No, the individual radiation therapy treatments do not hurt. But some of the side effects may cause pain or discomfort. Pain is not the goal of treatment. Pain levels are monitored daily so that we can keep patients as comfortable as possible.

What side effects can I expect?

Side effects vary from person to person and depend on the site of treatment. Most side effects are short-term because they occur during the course of radiation therapy and typically resolve some time after finishing.

The most common of these side effects are:

  • Skin reaction at the site of treatment.
  • Hair loss at the site of treatment.
  • Nutritional problems.
  • Fatigue.
  • Neutropenia (a reduction in white blood cells).

Our patients meet with the doctor weekly. This offers an opportunity to discuss any side effects that patients may be experiencing and allows us to implement the necessary interventions to alleviate discomfort.

Rarely, patients will develop a chronic side effect. These side effects, which are typically related to the area of treatment, include:

  • Memory impairment, confusion, personality changes (all with brain irradiation).
  • Development of another cancer because of tissue damage.
  • Cataracts.
  • Dental problems.
  • Heart problems.
  • Infertility.
  • Respiratory problems.
  • Gastrointestinal problems.

Patients are scheduled follow up appointments with the physician to evaluate and treat any chronic side effects following the course of treatment.

Learn more about our Oncology Medicine Physicians