When patients undergo radiation therapy, it’s common for them to ask: What will it feel like?

At Willamette Valley Cancer Institute, we deliver a variety of radiation treatments using the Trilogy Linear Accelerator by Varian Medical Systems. Its powerful, advanced motion management capabilities make it possible to treat tumors with precision and efficiency.

“Typically, patients are amazed after their first few treatments, because it’s kind of like getting an X-ray,” says WVCI radiation oncologist Dr. David C. Fryefield. “You lie on the table, you don’t move and the machine rotates around you.”

The radiation is stronger than that used for an X-ray, but the procedure is painless. Each highly targeted treatment lasts only a few minutes, although the setup time—getting you into place for treatment—takes longer.

Patients often ask if radiation treatment will make them sick or make their hair fall out. The answer, Dr. Fryefield says, is no.

“The radiation only goes where it’s supposed to go. The goal is to hurt the cancer and keep the healthy tissue happy.”

At WVCI, an expertly trained team, lead by the patient’s radiation oncologist, creates a customized, individualized plan of treatment for each patient.

There are no immediate side effects, so patients are able to drive to and from their treatment sessions. The main side effects happen over the course of a few weeks, and the extent depends on the individual and the area being treated. But with today’s advanced techniques, the side effects from radiation treatment are usually minimal and will recede.

Learn more about prostate cancer treatment here.