At your first appointment, you’ll meet your radiation oncologist, who will examine you and go over your medical history, before explaining the different treatment options to you, including duration of treatment and any potential side effects. If you both agree that radiation oncology is right for you, then your dedicated Nurse Navigator will help you with scheduling and planning your course of treatment.
Used for planning your radiation treatments, computed tomography (CT) simulation is a leading edge imaging procedure that we perform to “map” your tumors with pinpoint accuracy. We start by creating special positioning devices, customized just for you, that will be used to help keep you still and in the ideal position during your treatments.
Once placed in your new positioning device, we perform the CT scan of the area of your body to be treated. Most patients find the CT simulation to be painless, and you can expect this appointment to last about an hour.
The images from your CT scan are sent to our computerized treatment planning system, which creates a 3- or 4-dimensional model of the affected area and surrounding, normal tissues. Our multi-disciplinary team of cancer experts then uses this model to collaboratively design the best treatment plan, unique to your needs. Bringing the best minds together in a collaborative environment ensures the best possible outcome for your treatment.
Radiation therapy treatments typically begin within seven days after the CT scan. Most patients will receive treatments daily, Monday through Friday, for 15-20 minutes per day, on an outpatient basis. The number of treatments needed will vary, depending on the specifics of your condition. Each patient responds differently to radiotherapy. The side effects tend to be site-specific, meaning, for example, that hair loss generally only occurs in the area treated. Many patients have little or no side effects at all.
Even after your radiation treatments have concluded, we’re still here to help you every step of the way throughout your recovery. Your radiation oncologist will communicate with your other doctors and arrange for follow-up usually 6-12 weeks after completion of treatment. Your nurse navigator will continue to be available to guide you and family towards any additional resources you may need, including: