Your first visit to the department is for a consultation. A Radiation Oncologist, a physician who has been trained to use radiation in the treatment of disease, will meet with you to review your medical history and the results of any tests that have been taken up to that point. Additional studies may be needed after this review and if so will be ordered during the consultation. The Radiation Oncologist will then meet with you and your family to discuss whether radiation therapy is an option for you. After the decision is made, we will provide you with very specific instructions about the course of treatment outlined by the Radiation Oncologist.
At the Carol G. Simons Cancer Center, we always take the time to answer any questions you might have about your cancer diagnosis and treatment options. We want you to feel comfortable with the information you receive. We encourage you to bring a family member or friend with you for your first visit and to write down any questions you have before you meet with the doctor.
Please arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment for check in and registration and plan on your first visit lasting from one to two hours.
When you register, you will need to sign the following consent forms:
HIPAA – Informs you of your right to privacy. General Consent – Gives the Radiation Oncology Staff, our physicians and nurses’ permission to review your medical records, assess your medical needs and provide care.
After radiation therapy is chosen as the appropriate method of treatment for you, the treatment planning begins. When you are placed on the simulation couch, the treatment area will be outlined using small semi-permanent marks. This will assure that the same treatment area is targeted daily throughout the course of your treatment. The simulation procedure can last from thirty to ninety minutes depending on the treatment plan.
After the simulation is completed, the radiation oncologist, the dosimetrist and the medical physicist will take this information and plan the course of treatment with the aid of a treatment planning computer. All of the information gathered will be entered into the computer to assist the team in determining the optimum method of delivering your radiation treatments.
With the planning complete and the course of therapy determined, you will be treated on the linear accelerator. This machine uses high-energy photons and/or electrons to destroy the tumor with minimal effects on the area surrounding the tumor. You will lie on a procedure couch during your therapy, each treatment generally lasts only a couple of minutes. You may have anywhere from one to four or more treatment fields during each session and they are usually given daily over a period of two to eight weeks.
Treatments are usually given each day of the week, Monday – Friday. In most cases, you will be treated at the same time every day. Occasionally, scheduling conflicts arise and your appointment time may have to be changed or delayed.
During your course of treatment, the Radiation Oncologist will examine you every week to insure that everything is proceeding as planned. You will also be monitored daily by the Radiation Therapist and/or Radiation Oncology nurse, dietitian, and social worker. Your referring physician will be kept informed about your progress during treatment.
Occasionally, you may also need further diagnostic tests to monitor your response to the treatments.
Once you have completed your treatments, you will be given a follow-up appointment to return to see the Radiation Oncologist. The physician may choose to continue to monitor you periodically following your therapy.
To best meet the needs of our patients, appointments at the Radiation Oncology Department are prioritized on the basis of medical need. Expedited appointments are available for urgent problems.
X-rays: If you have had imaging studies performed such as mammogram, CT, MRI, PET or other scans pertinent to your condition, please bring the actual films or CD, along with a written report, to your appointment.
Bloodwork Reports: Bring copies of your most recent bloodwork results.
Pathology Reports: If you have had a biopsy, bring the slides and report for our review. You can obtain them from the Pathology lab where they were performed.
Pacemakers or Defibrillators: If you currently have a pacemaker or defibrillator, please bring the manufacturer’s card with you at the time of your consultation.
Medications: A list of your current medications and vitamins is essential information needed at the time of your initial assessment.
Insurance: Please confirm with your insurance company to determine if you will need a referral for your initial consultation.