Positive pages and light-hearted listening to make the treatment time fly.

The anticipation of starting treatment and thoughts about what treatment will be like can be overwhelming. Imagining what your treatment will be like, how you’ll feel after, and how long your treatment journey will last might consume your mind. The amount of time each treatment session will take depends on your cancer type, stage, and treatment type. Some treatments will take a few minutes, whereas other treatments will take a few hours. Wondering how you’re going to get through your treatment session without anxiety or boredom taking over? We have you covered with a list of positive and encouraging books and podcasts to help time fly. Dive into this curated list of uplifting reads and listens, and read on for more information about different types of treatments and how long each might take. 


  • The Power of Positive Thinking - by Norman Vincent Peale

  • Journey to the Heart: Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing Your Soul - by Melody Beattie

  • The Power of Now - by Eckhart Tolle

  • Untamed - by Glennon Doyle

  • Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? - by Julie Smith

  • The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom - by Don Miguel Ruiz

  • Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…and Maybe the World - by William H. McRaven

  • The Self-Love Experiment: Fifteen Principles for Becoming More Kind, Compassionate and Accepting of Yourself - by Shannon Kaiser

  • The Alchemist - by Paulo Coelho

  • Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear - by Elizabeth Gilbert

  • The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage - by Mel Robbins

  • Judgment Detox: Release the Beliefs That Hold You Back from Living a Better Life - by Gabrielle Bernstein

  • How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy - by Jenny Odell

  • Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change - by Maggie Smith

  • Choose Yourself - by James Altucher


  • Good Life Project

  • Live Happy Now

  • The Mel Robbins Podcast

  • Oprah’s Super Soul

  • The Happiness Lab

  • Morning Microdose by Almost 30

  • Happier with Gretchen Rubin

  • The Gratitude Diaries

  • Move With Heart with Melissa Wood-Tepperberg

  • The Doctor’s Farmacy with Mark Hyman, M.D.

  • Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris

  • We Can Do Hard Things

  • The Resilience Podcast

  • On Purpose with Jay Shetty

  • The Funk’tional Nutrition Podcast with Erin Holt

  • Dear Gabby

How treatment plans are created:

A treatment plan is created once a treatment has been decided on. This plan can be customized for the patient’s unique situation and is a step-by-step process that involves both planning and scheduling. The planning process involves figuring out the exact doses of the treatment that will be given and how long it will last, whereas the scheduling aspect involves working out the best timing and schedule for getting treatment.

Your unique treatment plan is heavily dependent on the type of treatment you're getting. It’s recommended to have a written cancer treatment plan created by your cancer care team that will act as your roadmap for your treatment path. This plan will also include your treatment schedule consisting of info about:

  • The type of treatment, such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, etc.

  • How treatment will be given, such as how radiation will be delivered, or if a treatment drug will be given by mouth, injection, or infusion.

  • How often treatment will be given, such as once a day, once a week, or once every 3 weeks.

  • If there are breaks between cycles, courses, or types of treatment, and how long the breaks will be.

  • The expected length of time for each type or course of treatment.

Below, you’ll find information about how long each type of treatment will take on average. Each treatment is different and the treatment duration will be dependent on your cancer type and stage, and personal treatment plan. Consult your doctor or care team if you have any questions about your treatment or schedule. 

Radiation Therapy

What happens during your radiation therapy treatment is dependent on the type of radiation therapy you receive. 

External Beam Radiation Therapy

External-beam radiation therapy delivers radiation from a machine outside the body. It is the most common radiation therapy treatment for cancer.

Each session lasts about 15 minutes. Radiation does not hurt, sting, or burn when it enters the body. You will hear clicking or buzzing throughout the treatment and there may be a smell from the machine.

Typically, people have treatment sessions 5 times per week, Monday through Friday. This schedule usually continues for 3 to 9 weeks, depending on your personal treatment plan

Internal Radiation Therapy

Internal radiation therapy is also called brachytherapy. This includes both temporary and permanent placement of radioactive sources at the site of the tumor.

Generally, with this treatment approach, there will be repeated treatments across a number of days and weeks. These treatments may require a brief hospital stay. 


The length of your chemotherapy treatment session will depend on many factors. Some chemotherapy treatments take minutes or hours, while other treatments are given over several days or weeks. This is called continuous infusion chemotherapy. You do not need to stay at the hospital or clinic for continuous infusion. Instead, drugs are delivered through a small pump you will wear or carry.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy time frame and duration depends on your cancer type and how advanced it is, the type of targeted therapy, and how your body reacts to treatment. You may have treatment every day, every week, or every month. Some targeted therapies are given in cycles, which is a period of treatment followed by a period of rest. The rest period is important because it allows your body to recover and build new healthy cells.


Similar to targeted therapy, how often and how long you receive immunotherapy depends on your cancer type and stage, the type of immunotherapy you receive, and how your body responds to treatment. Treatment might occur every day, week, or month, and some types of immunotherapy are given in cycles. 

Hormone Therapy

The type of hormone therapy you receive, amount taken, and timeframe it’s taken in is dependent on many factors that include cancer type and stage, risk of cancer returning or how long it had been before the cancer returned, type of cancer treatment you have already received or currently receive, side effects you experience, and whether or not menopause has occurred. Some people need hormone therapy for a short time, while others might remain on hormone therapy for several years or possibly the rest of their lives. Hormone therapy can be daily, monthly, yearly, or as needed. 


American Cancer Society: How Treatment Is Planned and Scheduled

Cancer.net: What to Expect When Having Chemotherapy

Cancer.net: What to Expect When Having Radiation Therapy

National Cancer Institute: Targeted Therapy to Treat Cancer

National Cancer Institute: Immunotherapy to Treat Cancer

Cancer.net: What Is Hormone Therapy

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