Head and Neck Cancer
The CT scan will give the treatment team a 3D rendering of the patient’s internal anatomy. This scan will be used by our planning department and doctors to create your specialized treatment plan. (click on image for larger view)
On the day of your appointment, a therapist will come and get you and show you to the CT room. You will be assisted on the CT table by the therapist and straightened to ensure that your body is aligned on the table. Your head will rest on plastic headrest that positions your head and neck according to the instructions given by your doctor. This will be the same position that you will be treated in on a daily basis. It is important to be in the same position everyday for your treatments.
Achieving this includes making a device known as an Aquaplast mask. At this time, you will be fitted for your Aquaplast mask. The mask itself is a hard plastic that becomes pliable when placed in warm water bath. When the therapist has decided that the mask is ready they will come and conform the mask to your face. The mask will feel warm and is made of a perforated material so that you will be able to breath normally at all times. In a matter of minutes the mask will begin to harden to the shape of your head and neck. The therapist will usually place a cool wet wash cloth over the mask to cool the mask off quicker, which will effectively set the mold. The therapist will make some marks using a paint pen or sharpie marker on the outside of the mask that other therapist will eventually use for your set up in daily treatment once your individual plan has been completed by the dosimetrist and doctor.
When the mask fabrication is complete, you will be scanned once to ensure that your internal anatomy is indeed aligned. When the therapist determines that you are aligned properly you will be ready for the actual CT scan. At this point you will not feel anything and nothing will actually touch you. The room is mounted with cameras and audio equipment so that the therapist can see and hear you at all times should you need anything. All you need to do at this point is to remain as still and relaxed as much as possible. After the scan is complete, it will be sent to Varian Eclipse Planning System for our dosimetrists and physicians to create your individualized treatment plan.
The therapist will remove the mask and mark it with your name and the specific headrest that you were assigned. You will be assisted off the CT table and given an appointment time for your first treatment, if one has already been determined, if one has not, the clinic will call you with more information and an appointment time when your plan has been completed.
Mask Making Process