Before you begin treatment, you will meet with your radiation oncologist to review all of your medical information and conduct a physical exam. Following this exam, he or she will visit with you and any family members or friends you wish to include in the discussion. The doctor will discuss your diagnosis and possible treatment options that may be helpful to you. He or she will also discuss potential side effects and the number of treatments appropriate for you.
The CT Simulator “Planning Session”
One of the first steps you will take before receiving radiation therapy is called a “simulation.” This is a dress rehearsal for your actual radiation therapy sessions. The simulator is a CT scan that helps your doctors plan precisely where to direct the radiation beam.
Many times, positioning aids are used to help you remain still during treatment. The proper positioning aids are selected or created before the CT scan.
Following the CT scan, your skin will be marked with a tiny amount of permanent ink. These very small marks are used by the therapists to set up the precise treatment area every day.
Your planning session will last 20 to 45 minutes.
The information obtained from the CT scan is put into a special treatment planning computer. A dosimetrist, in consultation with a medical physicist and a radiation oncologist, will generate a computer plan that is the best treatment plan for you.
How often are my treatments?
After all the planning is completed, we will call you to schedule your appointment to begin treatment. Treatments are usually given once a day and take approximately 15-30 minutes. All treatments are administered by radiation therapists. Please ask them any questions you have during treatment.
Treatments are given from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Depending on the type and stage of the tumor, your doctor may prescribe one to eight weeks of radiation therapy. Patients who receive radiation treatments are not radioactive.
Your radiation oncologist will visit with you once a week to monitor your progress and address any symptoms you might be experiencing. You may also be asked to have blood drawn occasionally.
You should not miss any of your treatments unless approved by your doctor.