What to Expect
The first step is meeting with Dr. Gagnon or Dr. Wernick for an initial consultation. The doctor will discuss your diagnosis and outline possible treatment options.
Once the decision is made to have radiation treatment you will be scheduled for a simulation. A simulation is a "planning session" where films and measurements are taken so that your doctor, physicist and dosimetrist can design an individual treatment plan.
After a physical examination and a review of your medical history with the doctor, your treatment team will use X-ray or CT images to "map" the exact location to be treated and determine the position of your body for all of your radiation treatments. The treatment team may also make custom masks or molds, and utilize headrests, wedges and other immobilization devices that help to keep you in perfect position during treatment. Usually the area of your body that requires treatment will be marked with either a special dye or a small tattoo so your treatment fields can be set up accurately for each and every treatment.
Once the simulation process is complete, the Radiation Oncologist (a Board-certified physician specializing in Radiation Therapy) will determine your exact treatment plan, including the type of energy to use, the amount of radiation that is needed, and the number of treatments that will be given.
Your first treatment may take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour as the Radiation Therapists do quality assurance checks to ensure that everything is exactly as Dr. Gagnon or Dr. Wernick prescribed.
In most cases your daily treatment will take only ten to fifteen minutes. We will make every effort to make your daily treatments as convenient and pleasant as possible.
You may experience some side effects during your course of radiation treatment. Fatigue and skin irritation are among the most common side effects experienced by most patients. Side effects vary depending on the area being treated and the sensitivity of each patient. The Radiation Oncologist and the Radiation Oncology Nurses can offer advice and assistance in minimizing side effects.