Step 5: Radiation Treatment
Once the physician and their team have developed the individualized treatment plan, you are ready to begin treatment. This generally occurs 1-7 days after the simulation.
You will be asked to lie on the table or “couch” of the radiation treatment machine; the radiation therapist will help position you. The therapist and oncologist can also move the table to perfectly align you for treatment. These movements are often as little as one millimeter or even less to ensure precise accuracy. Computers and laser beams are also used to help with alignment.
Because radiation is being used, the therapist and physician cannot be in the same room with you during treatment. The radiation therapist closely monitors you during treatment on a television screen and an intercom system allows for constant verbal contact. During treatment, you will be asked to lie very still. The computerized treatment plan, developed and approved by the radiation oncologist and their team, tells the treatment machine precisely how to deliver the radiation at the targeted area. The machine can rotate 360 degrees so the radiation can hit the tumor from different angles. Each treatment is painless and lasts only a few minutes.
Step 6: After Radiation Treatment
Care from our radiation therapy team doesn’t end when radiation treatments are completed. The Radiation Oncologist consults with the patient on the last day of treatment to carefully review and discuss aftercare instructions, possible side effects and what to expect in the days ahead.
Follow-up Appointments: Are scheduled with the Radiation Oncologist and referring physician. In addition, one of our nurses will call a few days after treatment to follow up on any side effects, questions, or concerns.
For more information, call St. Vincent Hospital Cancer Centers, at 920-433-8488.