On your first day, it is understandable that you will be a little nervous. This is usually the longest day that you will have to spend with us. Feel free to ask any questions that you may have at any time. We encourage you to have a family member or friend present. Please plan on being with us for at least two hours the first day.
(If you have been mailed a Patient Questionnaire, please bring the completed questionnaire with you.)
When you arrive, our receptionist will need the following information:
These are some things that will occur on your first day:
If treatments are required, the following information will be discussed with you:
A written consent for treatment will be obtained before radiation begins. If for any reason you feel that all of your questions have not been answered, do not sign the consent form until you have talked with someone who can help you understand fully the nature of your treatment, including its risks, complications, or anything else you may want to know.
After your visit, the physician will send a letter to your referring and family physicians outlining:
Following your consultation, you will be asked to return for a treatment planning session. At this time, a radiation oncologist along with a therapist will do a simulation to determine the best treatment plan for you. During simulation, a special X-ray machine called a simulator will be used to determine the exact area of your body to be treated. A magic marker will be used to identify this area on your skin. When the simulation ends, this marked area will be outlined with small tattoo "dots" the size of freckles. These very tiny tattoos allow patients to bathe during their treatment period without fear of washing off their marks. Because each patient's treatment plan is unique, the duration of the treatment course will vary from patient to patient. Treatment is usually given five days per week, Monday through Friday.
A therapist will assist you to the treatment room where you will be placed on the treatment table in the same position in which you were simulated. The therapist will align the treatment fields to the tattoos on your body. Although you will be alone in the room during your treatment, you will be watched on a closed-circuit TV by the therapist, who will remain in voice and visual contact throughout your treatment.
The treatment typically lasts between 10 and 15 minutes. Special types of treatments can last longer.
It is important that you maintain an adequate diet and get sufficient rest while receiving radiation therapy. To help maintain your weight and feeling of well-being, we may suggest:
During your initial consultation, your physician will discuss with you the possible side effects you may experience as a result of treatment. These side effects vary depending on the area of the body treated and are unique to each individual.
Although many patients experience moderate side effects, please tell a therapist or nurse if you are having any difficulties so they may help manage the problem.
During your treatment our physicians will evaluate your progress each week. If you have a problem or concern, the nurse or physician will see you promptly. On the day of your scheduled exam, please plan on a longer visit than on a routine treatment day.
Following your therapy, a summary letter will be mailed to your referring and family physicians. Your first follow-up visit with us provides an opportunity for our physician to evaluate your progress. The number of follow-up visits with us after the treatment may be limited. Therefore it is very important that you continue to see your referring physician regularly.
Our facilities are non-smoking facilities. Out of courtesy to others, smoking is NOT permitted anywhere in the center. Please do not smoke in the area outside the centers.
As one of our patients, you have the responsibility to: