American Cancer Treatment Centers

What To Expect

Radiation therapy requires several steps to complete the full course of treatment. The treatment varies slightly depending on the type of cancer, its location and how far advanced it is. Regardless of what kind of cancer, you can rest assure that the team at American Cancer Treatment Center is there for you every step of the way.

Consultation

Your first step on your road to recovery is to have a consultation with the Radiation Oncologist. After getting a brief physical examination he will ask some simple questions regarding you and your family's health.

The radiation oncologist will review all the data and information he or she has received from your other physician's, lab results and any tests or scans you may have taken prior to the consultation. Additional medical tests may be needed to gather more information for planning your course of treatment. You will learn about the possible side effects from the treatment and the best way to manage them. The Radiation Oncologist will discuss your cancer and the treatment options available.

Simulation

If your Radiation Oncologist determines that radiation therapy is right for you, the next step is your simulation where a CAT scanner is used to scan to record images of the parts of the body to be treated

During simulation, you will lie on the table and the radiation therapist will position you in the exact position that you will be in during your treatments. The radiation therapist may use special pillows, pads, or other devices to help hold your body in the proper position. Relaxing during simulation ensures consistent, accurate treatments. If you are already taking pain medication, you may want to take it before coming to your appointment and even bring some with you in case you need it.

The radiation therapist will then watch you through a window with the CT Scanner takes pictures or of the treatment site. Simulation usually only lasts a few minutes.

The images captured during the simulation session are recorded by computer for further study during the next step of the treatment-planning process.

Treatment plan

After the simulation, the radiation oncologist will carefully design your treatment plan using the imported CT images from your simulation. Three-dimensional planning computers show the size and shape of the targeted tumor from all angles. This technology assists the radiation oncologist to determine the exact points at which radiation will enter your body, minimizing exposure to surrounding normal tissues. This makes it possible to prescribe the precise doses of radiation needed.

The information collected during your treatment planning is processed by the Dosimetrist, who uses sophisticated computer software to calculate the radiation doses prescribed by the radiation oncologist. Your final treatment plan is reviewed by both the physicist and the radiation oncologist before you return for your next visit.

Simulation check

Prior to your first radiation treatment, you will have a simulation check or iso-check to verify that the treatment planned for you will be delivered as prescribed. The radiation oncologist and radiation therapist will check and record the targeted area and your exact position for the radiation treatments. After your treatment plan is verified, you are ready to begin therapy. Our office will then schedule you for your first treatment session.

Your radiation treatments

Radiation treatments are generally given Monday thru Friday for a set number of weeks. Your doctor will determine the appropriate length of treatment for you to be sure that the proper dose is delivered. The daily treatments last a few minutes and are scheduled in advance at an appointment time that is convenient for you. For ease in scheduling, your treatment will be the scheduled for the same time every day.

You should wear clothes that are comfortable and made of soft fabric, such as cotton. Choose clothes that are easy to take off, since you may need to change into a hospital gown or show the area that is being treated. Do not wear clothes that are tight, such as close-fitting collars or waistbands, near your treatment area. Also, do not wear jewelry, BAND-AIDS®, powder, lotion, or deodorant in or near your treatment area, and do not use deodorant soap before your treatment.

On your first day of treatment the Radiation therapist will explain the process, show you the equipment, and answer any questions that you may. The radiation therapist will position you in the exact position as when you were simulated. Any special devices such as pillows or masks that were used for the simulation will also be used for your treatments.

Even though you may feel completely well and notice few physical changes during the course of your treatments, it is very important to keep all your scheduled appointments, including the visits to discuss your progress and other health needs.

During your course of treatment you will meet with the radiation oncologist to discuss your progress. You may also meet with other members of the treatment team such as the nurse that will track and record any changes in your vitals such as blood pressure, weight etc.

Re-Simulation

During the course of your treatment, usually toward the end, you will be scanned again with the CT scanner. The process is similar to your first simulation. The radiation oncologist will check the images and compare them with the originals and note any changes in the tumor. The dosimetrist and radiation oncologist will work together to make a new treatment plan to compensate for any changes (weight loss, shrinkage of tumor) that may have occurred from the start of your treatments.

Final Treatments

The Radiation Oncologist will review all your information and determine the remaining number of treatments to complete the course. After your treatments are complete, a follow-up visit will be scheduled.

Offices in Rockledge and Titusville, serving Melbourne, Palm Bay, Merritt Island and Greater Brevard County In Central Florida.