What to Expect with Radiation Therapy?

When planning your radiation treatment plan, your radiation oncologist will use a technique called simulation to plan for your care. Generally, simulation includes:

  • Scans of your body, usually done with a CT scan (sometimes MRI , PET scan or ultrasound ). During this step, the radiation oncologist is looking to show the exact location of the tumor and evaluate the area around it.
  • During your treatments, it is important to be sure that you are in the same position each time, relative to the machine delivering the treatment. During the simulation process, molds, masks or other devices might be created to make it easier to accomplish this. Temporary tattoos on your skin may also be used to ensure the radiation is delivered in the same location every time.
  • Following your scans, the radiation oncologist will determine the exact area to be treated and the radiation dose. The radiation oncologist will work with other members of the Radiation Oncology team, which includes physicists and dosimetrists, to create a detailed plan for the radiation treatment.

Members of the radiation therapy team can include:

  • Your radiation oncologist is the physician in charge of your radiation therapy. At Beaumont, our radiation oncologists are all board certified by the American Board of Radiation Oncology.
  • Radiation therapists are trained and certified in radiation therapy. The radiation therapists will participate in your simulation as well as your treatments.
  • Oncology nurses work with you during your treatment; these nurses are specially trained in caring for cancer patients.
  • Medical physicists participate in ensuring the accurate delivery of diagnostic or therapeutic radiation therapy. They work together with the radiology team in treatment planning, establishing protocols for procedures, ensuring safe and accurate measurement of radiation doses, as well as monitoring the performance of radiological equipment. At Beaumont, medical physicists are certified by the American Board of Radiology or the American Board of Medical Physics.

Once treatment begins, what can you expect?

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