Radiation treatment is usually given five days per week, Mon-Fri. and continues for three to 10 weeks, depending on your treatment plan. A set daily treatment time will be discussed with you on your first day of treatment. We make every effort to accommodate your scheduling requests. Individual treatment times can vary from 10-20 minutes depending on treatment site.
You will see your physician weekly or as needed to monitor your treatment and discuss your progress. The nurse or radiation therapists are available daily to answer any questions you may have. Be sure to bring any problems you may be having to the nurse or your radiation therapist’s attention so it can be assessed and if necessary, see the doctor.
When you undergo radiation therapy treatment, each session is painless, like getting an X-ray. The radiation is directed to your tumor from a machine located outside of your body. One of the benefits of radiation therapy is that it is usually given as a series of outpatient treatments and you may not need to miss work or experience the type of recuperation period that can follow other treatments.
The radiation therapist may move the treatment machine and treatment table to target the radiation beam to the exact area of the tumor. The machine might make noises during treatment that sound like clicking, buzzing, or whirring. These noises are nothing to be afraid of, and the radiation therapist is in complete control of the machine always.
Sometimes a course of treatment is interrupted for a day or more. This may happen if you develop side effects that require a break in treatment. These missed treatments may be made up by adding treatments at the end. Try to arrive on time and not miss any of your appointments.
Your radiation oncologist monitors your daily treatment and may alter your radiation dose based on these observations. Also, your doctor may order blood tests, X-ray examinations and other tests to see how your body is responding to treatment. If the tumor shrinks, another simulation may be done. This allows your radiation oncologist to change the treatment to destroy the rest of the tumor and spare even more normal tissue.