Dr. O'Connor is Chairman of the Cancer Program at St. John's Regional Medical Center and has been named one of the "Best Doctors in America: Pacific Region". A specialist in Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT), Dr. O'Connor is committed to advanced technological treatment and giving compassionate care.
A Ventura County native, Dr. Montes is fluent in Spanish and the recipient of many honors and awards, including the "Celebration of Excellence Award" from The Wellness Community – Valley/Ventura. Dr. Montes provides high-level care to cancer patients and specializes in the most advanced treatments for prostate, breast and skin cancer.
Get plenty of rest during treatment, eat a balanced diet, and drink plenty of fluids.
Tell your doctor about any medications or vitamins you are taking to make sure they are safe to use during radiation therapy.
Treat the skin exposed to radiation with care. Clean the area with warm water and mild soap and use lotions or ointments only after checking with your doctor or nurse.
1) What are the side effects I might expect?
Pelvic skin irritation, increased bowel movements, gas and urinary changes are common. All of these conditions are treatable.
2) How will radiation affect by bowel regimen?
This depends on whether you have chemotherapy with your radiation or not. The lining of the bowel is very sensitive to radiation. Bowel changes are likely to occur during the 3rd or 4th week. If you are also receiving chemotherapy, bowel changes can occur during the 2nd or 3rd week. If you have bowel changes, your nurse will meet with you and discuss how to minimize the issue with a diet low in fiber, medications, and maintaining hydration.
3) Is there any special diet I need to be on?
When the bowel changes do occur, it helps to maintain a low-fiber diet, avoid foods that cause gas and cramps, and drink plenty of liquids to replace any fluids lost.
4) Will I still be able to work?
The answer will depend on your treatment plan and whether you are also receiving chemotherapy at the same time you receive your radiation. As a rule, you can continue working until either the bowel changes or fatigue limit you. Our nurse will meet with you during the first week of your radiation to design your physical and lifestyle approach to your radiation.
5) How will you know the effect the treatments have on my cancer?
At the beginning of your treatments the nurse and doctor will discuss the goals of treatment with you. The more you know about treatment, the more relaxed you will be. Follow-up tests after your treatment will be outlined by your physician.