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Frequently Asked Questions
Your surgeon, medical oncologist or GP can refer you to one of our Radiation Oncologists. You may also contact us directly and we will put you in touch with a Radiation Oncologist with specialty in the cancer type you are enquiring about.
You will be given an appointment time for a first consultation which will take place in the Radiation Oncologist's rooms, more often than not, this will be at ARO in Epsom, Auckland. Instructions will be given to you regarding any information you need to bring with you or any special requirements for this first visit.
Your Radiation Oncologist will notify ARO of your need for radiation therapy after which we will contact you with a time and date for your first visit with us.
The timing of this will depend on your condition - whether or not we need to wait until your surgery wound heals, your chemotherapy or hormonal therapy is completed, the urgency of your need for therapy etc.
This will depend on your level of health insurance or whether you have insurance at all. An estimate of your costs will be provided to you before you begin your course of treatment. We will assist you with gaining prior approval from your insurance company.
We will provide you with an indication of the costs of your radiation therapy once we have received detail of your expected treatment course. In most cases we will facilitate the prior approval of your radiation treatment directly with your health insurance provider.
If you are a self-paying patient, prior to starting radiation therapy you will be required to pay the estimated cost of treatment in full. Eftpos and credit card facilities are available and cheques are accepted. We’re unable to give change for cash payments as we do not hold cash on site.
Most treatments will be accomplished well within a 30 minute timeframe, but we suggest you allow up to an hour each day in case of delays.
Treatment courses last from one day to seven weeks depending on the area of the body being treated and the purpose for treatment. Your Radiation Oncologist will explain the length of your treatment course and what that means for you.
To learn more about the usual treatment pathway click here
Under most circumstances there is no problem with driving yourself to and from treatment appointments. Your Radiation Oncologist will advise you if it’s unwise to do so.
Parking on site is free to patients of ARO. Entrance to the parking building is through Gate 3 off Mountain Road. You may park in the ARO designated car parks on level 2, or in any other undesignated car park.
If it’s more convenient for you to be dropped off, you may enter through the front of the building. Please refer to the map in location and parking.
Should you need to make a longer stay in Auckland to complete treatment, there are several accommodation options close by to choose from. The ones listed below are of good quality and are only a short distance from ARO.
1 Boyle Crescent Grafton Auckland, 09-308 0161
Domain Lodge is a modern motor lodge situated in the city centre. This establishment is owned and operated by the Cancer Society, Auckland Division.
Proximity: 1.3 km from ARO
Off Broadway Motel
11 Alpers Ave, Newmarket Auckland, 09-529 3550
Affordable Luxury accommodation, close to Restaurants, Shops, Cafes, Bars, 4 Min drive to Auckland Central, Air-conditioned, SKY, Corporate, Family.
Proximity: 2.05km from ARO
15 Alpers Ave Newmarket Auckland, 09-522 0160,
A Boutique-style Hotel with Restaurant, Bar & Conference Facilities. Ample parking, close to Newmarket and major hospitals.
Proximity: 2.06km from ARO
All patients and their families have rights governed by the Health and Disability Commissioners Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights Regulation 1996. Auckland Radiation Oncology is committed to delivering your care in accordance with this.
More detail on these regulations can be found at www.hdc.org.nz including a translation of these rights into several languages.
Auckland Radiation Oncology is governed by the Privacy Act 1993 and in particular the Health Information Privacy Code 1994. At the core of the Privacy Act are information privacy principles that set out how we may collect, store, use and disclose personal health information.
In keeping with the Health Information Privacy Code, ARO will collect only the information they need, and where possible will collect it only from the individual concerned or their representative. All reasonable steps will be taken to ensure that the individual knows why the information is being collected, who is collecting the information and who will receive the information. The information will be gathered in such a manner that protects the individual's privacy and is sensitive to their needs.
If you would like more information about the Privacy Code 1994 and the Privacy Act 1993, please visit The Privacy Commission website. This website has fact sheets and information brochures for download. Of particular interest to you as a patient will be the Brochure for Health Consumers OPC Health brochure - website version PDF, 230 KB.
You can also contact the Office of the Privacy Commissioner on 0800 803 909, or email email@example.com.
ARO will be open Monday to Friday and will usually be closed on weekends and public holidays. There may be some instances where we treat on these days but you will be informed of this well ahead of time.
This is not something we encourage but we understand that sometimes it cannot be helped. In general, an appointment is added on to the end of your schedule to ensure you receive the prescribed number of treatments and receive the maximum benefit of your radiation therapy.
If several appointments are missed, you may have extra appointments prescribed. This is something that needs to be discussed with your Radiation Oncologist. We strongly suggest you meet all your appointments to ensure the outcome of your course of treatment is not compromised.
We encourage everyone to live their lives as normally as possible while they are having treatment. We will do our best to schedule your appointments to allow for this.
Fatigue is a side effect of radiation therapy, so we suggest you take this into account. Most people can manage this with regular rest scheduled during the day and perhaps an earlier bedtime. Some find they need to take a break from work or prefer to stay at home during this time.
Everyone's situation is different and we will work with you to find a solution that is best for you. Mild exercise is a good way to manage the effects of radiation therapy fatigue and depending on your circumstances, you may find walking for 30 minutes, yoga or tai chi, three times a week will help you cope with fatigue.
By all means make healthy diet changes while you are having treatment, but any extreme changes need to be discussed with your doctor. We recommend a healthy balanced diet of whole foods, with plenty of vegetables and fruit.
In a few instances, for example for those patients undergoing radiation therapy for prostate cancer, a special diet will be recommended to you. This diet is to minimise problems with bowel gas that cause the prostate gland to move during treatment. This will be explained to you by your Radiation Oncologist and treatment team.
We do not encourage any efforts to lose weight while you are on treatment. If you feel you need to lose weight, this can be discussed with your doctor once you have completed radiation therapy. There is a dietitian available at ARO to assist you with healthy diet advice if required.
This depends on what area of your body is being treated and needs to be discussed with your Radiation Oncologist.
In certain situations we do not recommend the drinking of alcohol, for instance for those patients undergoing treatment for head and neck cancers, as this can worsen the side effects. Smoking is also discouraged as it slows the healing process, and can further damage the tissues in the head and neck regions.
Radiation therapy is painless and you will not feel or see the radiation. It is like having a long x-ray.
The effect of the treatment is cumulative and the side effects can cause you some discomfort over time. These side effects and the management of them will be discussed with you at the time of your initial consultation with your oncologist.
We also have some information about managing side effects on the Following Treatment Page.
In general, a follow-up appointment will be made for you to see your Radiation Oncologist a few weeks after you finish your treatment. Your Radiation Oncologist will then continue to see you every few months. The effect of radiation therapy is cumulative and the treatment will keep on working for some time after you finish. The peak of reactions will generally occur 10-14 days after you finish your radiation therapy. For this reason you need to continue taking care of yourself, as if you were still on treatment, for a few weeks after your course of treatment ends. Any additional care you may require will be discussed with you and organised before your last day of treatment.
You may also phone ARO to ask for advice and assistance. In addition to this, a member of your treatment team will phone or email you in the weeks immediately following your treatment course to check that all is well with you. More information is available on the Following Treatment page
To ensure dosage accuracy the treatment staff do final checks to verify how the machine is set up compared to your individual treatment plan. This may include a scan to check your positioning and internal anatomy.
Furthermore, the accuracy of dosage calculation is independently verified for all treatment plans. This will be done by independent calculation checks or by treatment delivery to a measuring device.
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