Once radiation therapy is chosen as a treatment option, the radiation oncologist works with other specialized staff to develop a precisely customized treatment plan. Your treatments will typically begin within the next week, although each course of treatment is different and could require more or less time to plan.
Once you are checked in, a radiation therapist will bring you to your treatment room. If you need to change in to a gown before treatment, you will be taken to a private changing room and given a secure storage locker for your belongings. We will ask you to verify your date of birth and the treatment you are here for before we begin.
Radiation therapists work as a team, so you will likely have more than one therapist with you throughout the treatment. The treatment itself takes about 15 to 30 minutes. You will not be able to feel or see the treatment, but you will here a "buzzing" as the radiation dose is delivered.
After your first treatment, you should go home feeling just how you did when you came in. Some treatments carry side effects which will have been discussed with you during your intial consultation. Don't hesitate to ask questions. It is also important for you to take good care of yourself during treatment: get plenty of rest, follow doctor's orders, eat a nutrious diet, care for your skin and ask for help when you need it.
On-treatment visit (OTV)
You will meet with your treating radiation oncologist once a week, called an on-treatment visit (OTV). This is a good day to bring supportive family members or friends who wish to speak with your radiation oncologist. Please remember, if you are experiencing a problem, don't wait to speak to your oncologist at the OTV, simply tell your radiation therapist or nurse and they will arrange for you to see your physician that day.