In area treated. You will lose hair only in the area that is being directly treated.
This varies on the individual and treatment. The 2 most common symptoms are skin redness and fatigue. Fatigue can develop during treatment and last for a few weeks to a few months after completion. Skin redness on the breast or chest wall (radiation dermatitis) is also common, and usually develops 3-4 weeks after starting radiation therapy. This will resolve within a few weeks to a couple of months after treatment.
On the affected area. If you are referring hair here as hair on your head- then the answer is no- unless you have your radiation done to your head then you will have some hair loss. The hair loss happens only on the area that is affected by the radiation therapy. So, if you have radiation to the breast area- your hair on your head will not fall out..
Follow up after treatment. Generally, we use a physical exam, imaging studies and certain blood tests (depending on the cancer) to determine if the treatment has been effective. The specific assessments will vary for each person, based on their cancer type, stage and timeframe during and after the treatment course.
Comfortable clothing. It really depends on the part of the body that is being treated. Our therapists (the staff who treat you on a daily basis) will need to see the skin overlying the area treated, as they use skin markings or tattoos in those spots to help in daily alignment. In general, we don't undress the areas that are not close to the site we are treating.
Typically, no. Radiation oncologists are aware of the potential risks of irradiating any part of the body, based on published studies of toxicities. We are trained on all the various factors that can make a treatment more or less risky. We take that into account for every case we consider treating.
Depends. The cost will likely depend on the complexity of the treatment, technologies used, and number of treatments in the course. Every insurance provider and plan has different rates at which they reimburse, so that adds another variable. Medicare typically sets the national rates, but this can vary significantly depending on insurances, plans and region of the country.