What to Expect From Radiation Therapy
Step 1: Initial Consultation
Several steps need to be taken before radiation therapy treatment begins. The first includes a consultation with your radiation oncologist and other members of the Foley Cancer Center Team. This visit generally takes about one and a half to two hours and includes:
- A Physical Examination
- Review of Medical History
- Discussion of Treatment Options and Possible Side Effects
Many patients bring a family member or friend to this visit to take notes and provide support. If a decision is made to begin treatment, you'll be given an appointment for a simulation before you leave the center.
Step 2: Simulation
Most of this pre-treatment planning session will focus on outlining, or mapping, the exact area to be treated. A CT scan will be performed, and your skin tattooed with small dots that ensure the precise area receives radiation each time. Treatments will be scheduled. And you'll receive needed instructions, as well as suggestions from a radiation nurse on how to prevent skin problems, a common radiation therapy side effect.
Step 3: Treatment
The number of treatments prescribed depends on your specific cancer type and location. Some therapy courses last several weeks; others require only a few days. Most patients are scheduled to receive treatment at the same time each day, spending roughly 30 minutes at the Cancer Center each visit.
Your treatment will be administered by well experienced radiation therapists. During treatment, you will meet once a week with a radiation oncologist. Our experienced radiation nurses are also available daily to answer questions, discuss concerns and help manage treatment side effects.
Step 4: Follow-up
Your last treatment will include a visit with your radiation oncologist, who will discuss follow-up plans that generally include check-ups at regular intervals. Any necessary appointments will be made before you leave the center.
Meet the Foley Cancer Center Team to learn more about the health professionals you will meet, who will care for you and guide you through your treatment.