During an initial consultation you will meet with your radiation oncology team and specialists to discuss your specific type of cancer, the most effective types of radiation used to treat it and the results you might expect from your radiation treatment. You may also be scheduled for initial imaging scans such as x-rays or a CT scan that will help your team plan the best course of treatment. A simulation or "mapping" appointment is typically the first step and involves obtaining imaging to help precisely target the tumor and avoid healthy tissue.
Radiation Treatment Schedule
Once you and your treatment team determine your radiation treatment plan, you will be provided with a therapy schedule. Depending on your therapy choice, your schedule may be just one or two appointments over several days or a series of regular appointments over a number of weeks. When you come in, you will be escorted into the treatment suite where your radiation oncology team will take care of you. If you and your radiation oncologist choose external beam radiation therapy, you will be carefully positioned on a treatment table. The radiation delivery device will rotate around you. Treatments typically last only a few minutes and are pain free. They require no sedation so you can get back to your life right away. If you are scheduled to receive brachytherapy, your treatment team will use a special device to implant the radiation source near the tumor. You may feel some minor discomfort. These radiation treatments typically take about half an hour although some forms of brachytherapy may require a longer visit or a hospital stay.