Radiation Consultation and Consent

Author: Courtney Misher, MPH, BS R.T.(T)
Content Contributor: Allyson Distel, MPH
Last Reviewed: March 11, 2024

Initial Consultation

You will have a consultation visit with a radiation oncologist to talk about radiation and if it should be part of your treatment plan. A radiation oncologist is a physician who is trained in using radiation therapy for treating cancer. During this visit, you can expect to:

  • Review your medical history.
  • Have a physical exam.
  • Talk about the role of radiation therapy in your treatment.
  • Talk about which type of radiation is right for you.
  • Ask any questions you may have.

This visit often takes at least one hour. You should bring (or have electronic copies sent) all X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, laboratory studies, pathology slides, surgery reports, and other tests you may have had done so that your radiation oncologist can look them over.

During the visit, your provider may talk about their findings with other providers treating your cancer, also called the multidisciplinary team. They do this so that all treatments, such as surgery and chemotherapy, can be used together to best treat your cancer. At the end of the visit, your provider will talk to you about if and how radiation can be used in your care. If radiation therapy should not be used, your provider will explain why.

Informed Consent Process

If radiation therapy will be a part of your treatment, your provider will talk to you about:

  • The purpose of your treatment.
  • The benefits of your treatment.
  • The potential risks and side effects of your treatment.

You should be given time to think about all of this, to ask questions, and to talk about any concerns you may have. It can help to bring a supportive person with you who will be able to help you take in the information and have their questions and yours answered. Taking notes can be helpful.

Once you feel that you understand your treatment, risks, side effects, and other treatment options, you will be asked to sign a consent form. Before you sign the consent form, you need to make sure that you are comfortable with what you have talked about with your provider. After you have signed the consent, your provider will still be able to answer new questions or provide updated information to you about your treatment plan. You can withdraw (change your mind) your consent at any time for any reason.

More Resources

Guide to: Questions to Ask During Your Radiation Oncology Consultation

More information on Informed Consent related to clinical trials.


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