During this time the radiation oncologist will discuss your cancer
and treatment options. The doctor will discuss length of treatment,
side effects and further tests needed. This is the time for you to
ask questions. If possible, bring a family member with you.
Simulation is the first part of the treatment planning process. The
radiation oncologist uses a CT scanner to aid in planning your
treatment. Sometimes a non-toxic dye will be given to you to outline
certain internal organs. Before the scan, the radiation therapist
may place you into a special positioning device to help hold your
body still during treatment.
Planning marks allow treatment to be given in precisely the same
spot each time. You will be given small black permanent markings on
your skin (about the size of a freckle). These marks will create a
focus for the treatment machine. You will be able to bathe or shower
normally and not be concerned about accidentally washing them off.
The machine used to treat your illness is designed to provide
therapeutic doses of radiation. Linear accelerators are used to
deliver this radiation. In some cases, protective blocks will be
made especially to shield your healthy tissues from the radiation.
During treatment, you will lie on a table and the table will raise
you up under the treatment machine. The therapist will align your
body to ensure proper administration of therapy. Patients differ in
the number of angles and sites for treatment. Your therapist will
monitor your treatment from outside the room with a closed circuit
television and an intercom. The linear accelerator will create a
buzzing sound that you will be able to hear while the radiation is
delivered. It is extremely
important that you do not move during your treatment.
You will be assessed weekly while receiving treatment to see how
your body is responding to therapy. The nurse can answer any
questions you may have at this time. Follow all home care
instructions carefully and report any unusual symptoms to your
It is extremely important to schedule regular exams after your
therapy. These follow-up exams serve as a means of measuring the
continuing effects of your radiation and may include blood work and
X-rays. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is also part of your
treatment after your radiation therapy is complete.
What is radiation?
It is the use of high energy X-rays to treat diseases. These are
therapeutic X-rays that are different from diagnostic X-rays (i.e.,
What are the radiation
You will be asked to lie on a treatment table in a certain position
and hold very still. The treatment machine will move to a
pre-determined position, and you will not feel or see the radiation.
How long will treatment
The treatment takes only 15-30 minutes each day. The course of
treatment is usually 5 days a week for 2-8 weeks.
Who will give me my
The treatments are planned by your radiation oncologist and the dosimetrist,
and they are administered by the radiation therapist.
What things should I do during treatment?
Continue your normal lifestyle and daily activities. Eat well and
get plenty of rest. Do not scrub off temporary marks placed on your
skin until told to do so. Do not apply any salves, direct heat or
cold, lotions, or other self-remedies to the skin area being treated
unless recommended by your healthcare team.