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Am I Too Sick for Radiation Therapy?

During radiation therapy, beams of intense energy are used to kill cancer cells. Sometimes, healthy cells in the surrounding area can get damaged, too. Because of the intensity and potential side effects of this treatment, patients need to be in reasonably good health before starting. To understand more cancer treatment options and how they pertain to you, talk to your RCCA oncologist.

Making the Best Decisions for Your Health

Depending on your age, health status and previous medical conditions, you might not be a good candidate for radiation therapy. It’s typically not recommend for patients who are pregnant, who have a preexisting condition that makes them more sensitive to the side effects or who have already received high-dose radiation to that body part.

However, even if you aren’t healthy enough for other types of treatment, like chemotherapy, you may be healthy enough for radiation. That’s because radiation can be given in low doses and shorter intervals. Plus, it can be used as a form of palliative care to help relieve symptoms in advanced cancers. So even elderly patients or those who might otherwise be considered too sick might still be good candidates for radiation therapy. Together, you and your doctor can decide what course of action will be most beneficial for you, given your individual health and goals.

Getting Sick during Radiation Therapy

While going through radiation therapy, you might feel sick or come down with a cold or flu. If this happens, is it safe to go on with your treatment as planned? In most situations, it is safe to continue treatment. However, it’s always best to let your doctor know or to at least tell the staff upon check-in. They may decide to push back your radiation a few days or longer so that you can be strong and healthy enough for treatment.

Similarly, if you have a severe reaction to radiation therapy, your doctors may pause or stop your treatment altogether. Your health is the top priority at RCCA, and we want to make sure any treatment you receive is safe.

Doctors that Care

Whether radiation therapy is right for you or not, trust that you’re in good hands at RCCA. With compassionate, highly experienced oncologists and advanced technology, we’ll do everything we can to deliver the best care possible. Schedule an appointment at one of our facilities near you.

we are here for you

For more information or to schedule an appointment,
call 844-346-7222. You can also schedule an appointment by calling the RCCA location nearest you.


Regional Cancer Care Associates is one of fewer than 200 medical practices in the country selected to participate in the Oncology Care Model (OCM); a recent Medicare initiative aimed at improving care coordination and access to and quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries undergoing chemotherapy treatment.