For Patients

We understand this journey may be new and unchartered but remember we’re here to guide you every step of the way.

Our facilities and services are designed with your care, comfort, and convenience in mind. All of our centers are located in conjunction with community hospitals and medical campuses. The day-to-day operation of our centers is geared for efficiency so that delays and demands on your time are kept to a minimum.

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What to Expect When Having Radiation Therapy

The staff at MedStar Health works closely with you and your referring physician to provide quality treatment. We offer timely appointment scheduling as well as support and education.

Feel free to bring a list of questions about your treatment with you to discuss with your healthcare professional. Also, please remember to bring any X-rays or CT scans to your appointment.

Radiation Therapy Consultation

Your initial consultation is an opportunity to become acquainted with our staff and our office routine. You will meet with the radiation oncologist, who will determine whether radiation therapy should become part of your cancer treatment program. The physician will examine you and review your clinical history, particularly the results of all the diagnostic studies performed prior to your consultation. You (and your family, if you wish) will thoroughly discuss radiation as a treatment option with the physician. Take advantage of this opportunity to ask questions concerning your diagnosis, your treatment, the nature of radiation therapy, and other important issues.

If the physician recommends a course of radiation therapy, you will discuss the type of radiation to be delivered, the number of treatments, the frequency, and other details necessary for your personal planning purposes. The physician will then schedule your simulation appointment.

Before Radiation Treatment

The staff at RadAmerica works closely with you and your referring physician to provide quality treatment. We offer timely appointment scheduling as well as support and education.

Feel free to bring a list of questions about your treatment with you to discuss with your healthcare professional. Also please remember to bring any X-rays or CT scans to your appointment.

Consultation

Your initial consultation is an opportunity to become acquainted with our staff and our office routine. You will meet with the radiation oncologist, who will determine whether radiation therapy should become part of your cancer treatment program. The physician will examine you and review your clinical history, particularly the results of all the diagnostic studies performed prior to your consultation. You (and your family, if you wish) will thoroughly discuss radiation as a treatment option with the physician. Take advantage of this opportunity to ask questions concerning your diagnosis, your treatment, the nature of radiation therapy, and other important issues.

If the physician recommends a course of radiation therapy, you will discuss the type of radiation to be delivered, the number of treatments, the frequency, and other details necessary for your personal planning purposes. The physician will then schedule your simulation appointment. To further educate you about radiation therapy, we will offer you an opportunity to view a DVD presentation.

DVD Viewing and Patient Education

To help you become more comfortable with the treatment process, we will provide you with a DVD series about radiation therapy with your family. The purpose of the DVD presentation is to provide a review of the treatment process and to help you become more comfortable with the proposed plan of therapy. The series supplements, but does not replace, your discussions with the physician.

During Radiation Treatment

Schedules

Treatments are given on a daily basis, Monday through Friday. Treatments may range from one day to several weeks. The number of treatments depends upon the doctor's evaluation of the individual patient's condition. Every attempt will be made to schedule treatments at the same time every day and at a time that is convenient for each patient. Generally, patients can expect a 10- to 20-minute office visit each day. Actual treatment time is about five minutes, but patients are scheduled at 15-minute intervals to allow for treatment set up and clothing changes.

Because each patient is assigned a specific time for treatment, we ask that you please arrive on time for your appointments. If you arrive early, you will still be treated at the appointed time. Unfortunately, there may be some occasional unforeseen delays due to last-minute emergencies or other circumstances beyond our control. We appreciate your patience and understanding during such situations.

Medical Care, Testing and Medications

Once a week (more frequently if necessary), your radiation oncologist will examine you to follow your progress. If you experience any problems prior to your weekly visit, advise the nursing staff and they will inform the physician. Routine blood samples and verification X-rays of the area treated are taken, generally on a weekly basis. This testing is necessary to note your progress during your course of treatment. You will be notified only if there are any unusual or unexpected results.
 
Medications are prescribed on an individual basis. Most medications are used to control treatment-related side effects. When you have questions about your medications or if you need prescription refills, please contact one of our nursing staff.
 

Activity and Personal Care

While you are receiving radiation therapy treatments, it is important to maintain an adequate diet and be sure you get sufficient rest. It is essential that good nutrition is maintained during the treatment process. We encourage you to continue as much of your normal activity as you feel capable of without strain. Please protect your treatment area from injury due to rubbing, pressure or irritation. Do not use electric heating pads, hot water bottles or heat lamps on these areas. Avoid excessive exposure to direct sunlight or extreme cold. Please do not use medications, mouthwashes, ointments, or make-up on the treated areas without approval from your physician. We consider any question or concern you have about your care to be very important, and we will do our best to help you during this difficult time.
 

After Radiation Treatment

On your last treatment day, we will schedule a follow-up visit for the following month.  After this examination and all subsequent follow-up visits, your radiation oncologist will send a complete progress report to your physicians. Regular follow-up visits with your primary care physician and the radiation oncologist are essential to your continued progress. You should call our office if any unusual symptom or problem develops between visits.