What will happen on cancer treatment days?
Please check in with our receptionist when you arrive for your radiation treatment. Most patients are taken to a changing room and asked to change into a hospital gown. You then will be escorted to the treatment area. (Family and friends remain in the waiting area until you are finished with your treatment.)
Radiation treatments are typically given between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Your therapist will discuss future appointments on the day of your first treatment. Generally, treatments will be the same time each day.
The radiation therapist will take an X-ray (called a port film) on your first day of treatment, and another one every week or as needed. Port films verify that you are being positioned accurately during each treatment. Port films are not diagnostic and don’t show your progress, but they are important in providing precise treatment. In some situations, ultrasound may be used instead of X-ray.
Once the therapist is certain you are positioned correctly, he or she will leave the room and start the radiation treatment. Video cameras and an intercom in the treatment room allow two-way communication between you and your therapist at all times. The radiation is “on” for only one or two minutes for each treatment field. During the treatment, you will need to lie as still as possible, breathe normally and relax. Your therapist will be in and out of the room to reposition the machine and change your position. The treatment machine will not touch you and you will feel nothing during treatment. Total treatment time can vary from a few to several minutes.
Once your radiation treatment is complete, your therapist will help you off the table and escort you back to the changing area or waiting room, and you can then be on your way to your normal activities.