What Happens After I Am Told I Need Radiation Therapy?
There are basically five things to know.
1) You will see your OHC physician (a radiation oncologist) at the office, during which your radiation treatments will be discussed. At this visit, be sure to tell your doctor or nurse any medications you are currently taking. An appointment will be made for your planning session (called a simulation meeting). This is sometimes performed on the same day.
For more details about your first day at the office (what to expect, what to bring, patient forms, and brochures), check out our website’s Your First Day section.
2) The simulation visit will take about one hour. Any preparations that may be needed for this visit will be discussed with you at the time your appointment is made. You will also be asked to sign a consent form agreeing to your treatment if one was not done during your consultation.
3) Check in with the receptionist when you arrive for your appointment. When your name is called, you will be taken to the CT/Simulator Room.
4) A CT scan will be performed of your treatment area. Marks will be made on your skin and covered with clear tape for protection. These marks are preliminary and may not represent the actual treatment area. Please do not wash off the marks until a member of your OHC healthcare team gives you permission. The marks are waterproof, however, so you may continue to shower to get them off.
In some cases, immobilization devices may be made during this visit to assit with your positioning on the tabel for daily treatment. These devices may vary from a mask made of your face to a vacloc bag that will be molded around your body. The devices needed on this day will depend on the location of the area to be treated. The devices are critical for making sure there is no movement that might effect the precision of your radiation treatment.
5) Treatment may begin within a few days. However, in some cases, it may be up to two weeks from the time of your simulation. This time frame will allow the doctor and the physics team (who run the equipment) to complete the treatment planning portion of your radiation therapy. Note that you will not need to remove your jewelry or watch unless you wear it on the specific area of your body that is being treated.
For more about OHC Radiation Therapy, visit our OHC Radiation Oncology page on this website. To learn more about the effects of your radiation cancer treatments, visit our Blog article titled, “How Will I Feel After Radiation Therapy?“.