Let's Get Rid of the Worry
Nearly two-thirds of all cancer patients receive radiation therapy as part of their treatment. But that doesn't make it any less scary when it comes to you.
Having the facts helps. Here's what to expect with radiation therapy.
Step 1: Consultation
Before you start treatment, you'll meet with your radiation oncologist. In many ways, this will be like a regular doctor's visit. A member of our nursing team will greet you, briefly review your medical history and medications and record information like your weight and blood pressure.
Your doctor will talk with you about your medical history, diagnosis, tests and treatments. You'll learn what to expect from radiation therapy and have a chance to ask questions. You may want to bring a family member or friend who can take notes and make sure you cover everything you want to know.
Step 2: Simulation & Treatment Planning
During this appointment, a simulator will take imaging scans of your body to help map the area for treatment. This allows therapy to target cancerous tumors while avoiding healthy tissue. To ensure that radiation is delivered with pinpoint precision, the treatment area may be marked with tiny dots of permanent or semi-permanent ink. Special devices may be used to keep your body in the correct position and shape the radiation path, including immobilization devices, masks, shields and supports.
Following simulation, you'll have a special CT scan to help with treatment planning. This scan and sophisticated software will be used to design the best radiation therapy plan for your situation.
Step 3. Treatment
Treatment schedules vary based on the type and location of cancer, your general health and any other medical treatments you're undergoing. It also depends on the type of radiation therapy you're receiving. External radiation therapy sessions generally last for 15 to 30 minutes and take place five days a week for a period of weeks. Other types of radiation therapy involve introducing radiation internally or systemically into the body.
During each session, we'll take special care to make you comfortable and will monitor how you're doing on video and audio.
Step 4: Follow-Up
Our relationship with you doesn't end when treatment does. You'll have follow-up appointments to make sure you're doing well and to coordinate any additional tests or consultations with other doctors. If you have questions at any time following treatment, give us a call. We're always here for you.
Want to Know More?
If you're the type of person who likes to dig into the details, we've got you covered. Complete this form, and we'll send you a pdf of Dr. Koneru's book "Confessions of a Radiation Oncologist - What You Don't Know about Cancer and Radiation Therapy." Free of charge.
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