Prepare for your Visit
Before your first visit, please download and print our new patient forms and bring them to your first visit. Thank you!
WHAT TO EXPECT
The team at Alliance Cancer Care is here to support you through every step of the process from consultation through treatment and follow up. We will answer your questions and support you along the way. Here's what you can expect:
This is your first meeting with your radiation oncologist. It is helpful to prepare for the consultation by bringing medical records, a list of medications, your insurance information and a list of questions you have about treatment.
There will be important information communicated during the consultation, so you may want to bring a family member or support person with you to be a second set of ears to help listen and ask questions about the therapy.
Once it has been determined that you radiation treatment is right for you, a simulation (SIM) appointment will be scheduled. The purpose of this appointment is to map the exact area to be treated. A CT scan will be taken to verify the anatomy and assure accuracy. If needed, immobilization devices such as a face mask or body mold will be made at this time. A CT scan will be taken to define your anatomy and to ensure accuracy. Your skin will be marked with skin markers to ensure that you are aligned correctly for each treatment.
After simulation, you will have some time to relax while your radiation oncologist creates a unique plan of treatment taking into account your diagnosis, the type of radiation machine that will be used, the amount of radiation needed, and the number of treatments you will receive.
The number of treatment sessions you will have will vary depending on your specific cancer type and its location. Your experience may be completely different than other patients and may differ from previous radiation treatment you may have had. During treatment, you will lie still while the radiation beam is targeted to the exact area of the tumor. You will not feel the radiation as it is being delivered. A full course of radiation therapy may take several weeks, while other treatments may be one day or just a few days.
When your course of treatment is completed, your radiation oncologist will need to see you for follow-up visits. You will be given instructions about the intervals at which you will need to be seen.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is radiation treatment?
Radiation therapy is a form of cancer treatment that X-rays to kill cancer cells.
Why do I need radiation?
Radiation is used alongside other treatments to treat cancer. It can be used for curative or palliative purposes.
How is radiation given?
Radiation therapy is typically given with "external beam" treatment, which is like a flashlight focused on your area of cancer.
Does it hurt?
Radiation is invisible and painless and does not hurt. Some patients will experience skin irritation at the treatment site after treatment. There are over the counter products that can help relieve any discomfort this may cause. If you experience this, your doctor will recommend the products that will work best for you.
How many treatments?
The number of treatments your doctor prescribes will vary based on your cancer type and location. Most patients come in for treatment daily, Monday through Friday, for several weeks.
Are there side effects?
Most patients have some fatigue, but most people are able to drive themselves and work full time throughout their treatment, if they wish. Some patients experience skin irritation at the treatment site after treatment. There are over the counter products that can help relieve any discomfort this may cause. There can also be other side effects, depending on the area of the body being treated. Your radiation oncologist will discuss the side effects with you so you know what to expect before you begin therapy.
Will I be radioactive?
You will not be radioactive. Unlike some other forms of treatment, such as nuclear medicine treatments, radiation therapy does not cause “radioactivity.” This means you are safe to be around family and friends without restrictions.
How do I know the treatments are working?
Your radiation oncologist has recommended treatments that have been proven to be effective, and will monitor your treatment progress.
Learn more about the Dr. Jeanne Shepherd Fund, established in 2001 to provide financial assistance to cancer patients. You will also find links here to other patient resources.
Alliance Cancer Care's Amazon storefront features products selected by Alliance Cancer Care radiation oncologists that may help cancer patients before, during, or after their treatments.
When you shop the Amazon storefront, Alliance Cancer Care earns commissions from all qualifying purchases. 100% of all commissions earned are donated by Alliance Cancer Care to the Dr. Jeanne Shepherd Fund to help provide financial assistance to cancer patients.
"From my first visit, I was confident the team at Alliance Cancer Care was going to use leading protocols to treat my cancer. I felt safe, cared for, and listened to when I had questions. Being close to home was key for me and my family so they could be with me throughout each appointment and treatment, Alliance made this possible."
- Stephanie D.