The scanned information is sent to the dosimetry planning department as soon as it is completed so that your site specific radiation therapy treatment plan can be made. The planning process can take up to a week. When the team has completed your plan, you will be assigned to a treatment room and given an initial “start” appointment.
Your First Treatment
Your first appointment will take a little longer than the rest of your treatments. You will be taken to a treatment room where the therapist team will position you using the marks on the mask that was made for you in CT. At this point, shifts will be made from these marks based on what the dosimetry team has planned for you. Once shifts have been made, radiographic images will be taken to ensure that you are aligned according to your plan and will be checked by your oncology physician before any actual radiation treatment is administered. It should be noted that films taken in the treatment room are used for set up and localizing specific anatomy and do not show a progression or digression of your disease. Once these images are approved by the physician, your mask will be remarked and you will then receive your first treatment. The machine will rotate to different angles based on your treatment plan. During your treatment, you will not feel the radiation, however, you will hear the machine buzzing.
After completing your first treatment, a photograph of your treatment set up will be taken for the clinic’s records. This is to ensure that your treatment set up will be consistent should a different therapist need to treat you at a later date.
The mask will be removed and you will be assisted off the treatment table. Since this will be the room where you receive your daily treatments, you will discuss a daily treatment time with your radiation therapist. Available time slots will vary depending on your treatment room’s schedule. The decided treatment time will be consistent throughout your treatment regimen. Treatments are given Monday through Friday- you will not have to come for treatment on Saturday or Sunday.
After your first week of treatment, every Monday you will visit with a physician. This is a time when you can talk to the doctor about any concerns or side-effects you may be experiencing.
Head and Neck Cancer