- Before Your First Visit: Thank you for visiting UCI Department of Radiation Oncology. We are excited to meet you! To provide you the highest level of care, we would like to obtain your recent outside medical records before your first appointment so we will mail you paperwork to get this process started. If you do not receive it, not to worry. It can be found here*, along with a checklist of items**, that will help us learn more about your cancer.
* = consent to release information
** = items to be requested (path, image reports, consultations, etc.)
Once you have completed both forms, you can fax it to (714) 456-7170 or email it to XXXX.
New Patient Consultation: When you arrive, you will check-in at the front desk and one of our schedulers will take a picture of you (from the shoulders up) for identification purposes. One of our nurses or medical assistants will call you, obtain your vitals, and then accompany you to an examination room. Finally, a UCI faculty physician and a resident physician will obtain your medical history and evaluate your case. This evaluation includes reviewing images, biopsies, and other oncologists’ assessments. They will discuss the role of radiotherapy as part of your treatment, along with its potential benefits and side effects. To ensure all your questions are thoroughly answered, this visit lasts approximately one hour. At the end of this visit, you and your radiation oncologist will decide whether to proceed with radiotherapy.
Simulation: The purpose of the simulation lies in its name. It simulates the position you will be in when receiving radiation. Our radiation therapists and physicians collaborate to outline the exact treatment areas. Additionally, devices that will hold your body in a specific position might be used to ensure the highest level of radiotherapy precision. After our setup is complete, a CT (sometimes with oral or intravenous contrast) is acquired so the physician can start designing your treatment. If you are claustrophobic, let our physicians know in advance so we can plan accordingly.
To be most effective, radiation therapy must be aimed precisely at the same target or targets each and every time treatment is given. Simulation consists of the process of measuring your body and marking your skin to help your team direct the beams of radiation safely and exactly to their intended locations. During simulation, your radiation oncologist and radiation therapist place you on the simulation machine in the exact position you will be in during the actual treatment. Your radiation therapist, under your doctor's supervision, then marks the area to be treated directly on your skin or on immobilization devices. Immobilization devices are molds, casts, headrests or other devices that help you remain in the same position during the entire treatment. Your radiation oncologist may request that special blocks or shields be made for you. These blocks or shields are put in the external beam therapy machine before each of your treatments and are used to shape the radiation to your tumor and keep the rays from hitting normal tissue. Devices may also be used to shape the beam and achieve safe delivery of your radiation treatment.
Treatment: Approximately one week after simulation, you will begin treatment. Our schedulers try their best to accommodate requests for a particular treatment time. When you arrive, our radiation therapists position you on the treatment table and then leave the room to turn on the machine. However, you are not alone as there are cameras and microphones in the room. Once the beam is on, you will not see or feel the radiation as it is being delivered. On average, each radiation treatment takes about 10 to 15 minutes, but this can vary. You will not be radioactive at any time during radiotherapy, so we encourage you to presume your usual daily activities after finishing daily treatment. From check-in to check-out, we would recommend allotting 30 to 45 minutes of your day. Once a week throughout therapy, you will meet with your radiation oncologist to discuss any issues or questions that may arise. However, if you are experiencing any treatment-related effects, please notify our nurses or physicians immediately so they can assist you.
Follow-up: After you have completed radiation therapy, you will be scheduled for routine follow-up visits to check on your recovery and the treatment efficacy, which can involve obtaining CT or MRI images shortly before your scheduled time.
After Hours: We are always available to help you. If you have an urgent problem at night or during the weekend, call XXX-XXX-XXX and ask the operator to connect you with the on-call radiation oncology physician. In case of an emergency, please dial 911. When you arrive at an emergency room (ER), make sure to inform the ER that you are receiving (or have received) radiation therapy at UCI.