Radiation Therapy - A Guide for Patients & Families
What to expect:
Before you have your first radiation treatment, you may have a special mold and/or CT scan in the treatment position before you are scheduled for simulation.
During simulation, you will lie very still on a table while the radiation therapist uses a special X-ray machine to find the exact location on your body where the treatment should be given. (This area is sometimes called the treatment site or treatment port). You may have more than one treatment area.
Once the treatment site is defined, the therapist will mark the treatment area on your skin with semi-permanent ink. You should be careful not to wash these marks off, because they must stay on your skin until your radiation treatments are finished. If the marks fade, do not try to draw over them.
Simulation may last as little as a half hour or as long as 2 hours.
After simulation, your doctor will work with the others on our team to decide how much radiation you need, how it will be given, and how many treatments you will need. It may take several days to complete your radiation treatment plan.
During your radiation treatment, the therapist will use the ink marks, on your skin to locate the treatment area. The therapist may put special shields between the machine and certain parts of your body to help protect the normal tissue and organs. Special molds or other devices may be used to help you stay in the exact same treatment position throughout your course of treatment. X-ray films (also known as portal films) will be taken of the treatment area before the first treatment and once every week to make sure you are in the correct position. Treatments are usually scheduled every weekday Monday-Friday and will take approximately 15-20 minutes.
During your course of radiation treatment, your Radiation Oncologist will check you on a weekly basis to monitor your progress and to answer any questions you may have. You may request to speak with your radiation oncologist at any time.