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Patient Care

What to Expect


INITIAL CONSULTATION

   We view the first consultation as a critical information gathering session. We will explain what radiation therapy is, what it's not, and how treatment may affect you both short and long term. We expect to educate you on your subtype and stages of cancer, its current or past locations in the body, and what radiation therapy treatment options are available to you.

You will meet with one of our Registered Nurses who will preform a comprehensive nursing assesment. Therafter you will meet with the Radiation Oncologist and often a Radiation Oncology Resident or Nurse Practitioner, who will interview you regarding important details of your medical history and current symptoms. 

After the consultation we may ask you to undergo additional blood tests or imaging studies to gather all the information nescessary to formulate a plan. 

RADIATION THERAPY PLANNING

The next step before treatment is often a radiation therapy planning session. During this session we will position your body as we would on the day you are to receive radiation therapy. Treatment position will vary from patient to patient based on the location of your cancer.

A custom-made immobilization device will then be created which will help you re-assume that position during the actual treatment. A series of markings will be made on your skin which will help us in returing you to the correct treatment position.

While being supported by the custom immobilization device we will perform a CT scan or other imagiing procedure, which will give us anatomic information needed to design your custom radiation therapy plan.

When this planning session is complete your Radiation Oncologist meets with the Medical Dosimetrist and Medical Physicist to design a radiation therapy plan that maximizes the dose to the tumor while minimizing the does to the sensitive health tissues nearby.  

SIMULATION

The last step before treatment is a dress rehersal or practice session that we call a, "Simulation". This can happen a week or even a few days before your first treatment depending on the situation. 

You will be placed in the same position you were in during the planning session and either a series of x-rays will be performed or your Radiation Oncologist will physcially check you to ensure that your position on the treament table is correct. 

We will also check to make sure all the calculations are accurate, the blocking devices are the correct size and shape, and that the planned treatment can be delivered by the Linear Accelerator. 

TREATMENT

FIRST TREATMENT
You will be positioned as you were before in the planning and simulation steps. During the delivery of your first treatment the technicians and doctor will not be in the room with you, but they will be able to see and hear you through a series of microphones and cameras.

DURING TREATMENT
You will see your radiation oncologist once per week during treatment for a short visit to discuss questions you may have, coordinate your care with other specialties, and treat any side effects you may be experiencing. These visits are a great opportunity to discuss any non-urgent questions or concerns.

LAST TREATMENT
You will be instructed on when to return for a follow-up assessment and may be asked to get additional testing before your next visit.