Preparing for Radiation Therapy
What to Expect: Respect
Cancer is no fun and even cancer treatment can be unnerving and uncomfortable, particularly before you know exactly what to expect. At the Delaware Valley Urology Cancer Treatment Center it is our goal to make the cancer care experience as easy and comfortable as possible for you and your family. Our staff is here to answer questions, provide assurances, maximize your comfort and expedite your treatment. So if we can do anything to improve the process for you, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Before you agree to have radiation therapy you will have an extensive conference with a radiation oncologist. At this visit, the radiation oncologist will review your medical history, conduct a physical exam, and review any radiologic studies performed as part of your diagnosis. You will gain a detailed picture of the process involved with radiation treatments and its possible effects on your body.
Marker Placement for Radiation Guidance
Commonly at this stage, gold or carbon markers are placed in the prostate by your urologist in a manner similar to your biopsy to allow daily image guidance of your radiation. Such markers are about the size of a grain of rice and allow your radiation oncologist to precisely track the location of your prostate gland prior to your daily radiation treatment. These markers are commonly placed about 1 week prior to your planning session for radiation, this is called Simulation.
Your preparation for radiation therapy will start with a simulation. During this session, you will be fitted with a customized immobilization device that will be used to stabilize your position for daily treatments. Small removable stickers called BBs are placed on the skin to ensure complete accuracy when defining the desired treatment area. This area will then be marked with tiny permanent tattoo points on the skin, indicating exactly where the radiation will be delivered. CT images are taken of the tumor site and the exact boundaries of the treatment area are identified.
Once your simulation procedure is completed, a medical dosimetrist will work closely with your radiation oncologist and physicist to devise a customized, radiation plan that will effectively treat your tumor with ionizing radiation as prescribed by your oncologist. This dosimetry planning process and the associated review by the center’s physicist will typically take 7-10 days to complete.
At your first treatment your radiation therapist will take a “verification film” or X-ray of your position during a process called a “verification simulation.” This image will be measured against subsequent films to assure that your position is correct in each radiation session. Images will be taken daily during the course of your treatment to provide ongoing guidance to your care team.
What Not to Wear
On the day of your treatment wear soft, comfortable clothes and avoid tight waistbands or belts near your treatment area. Don’t wear a band-aid or jewelry near your treatment area. Avoid using powders or lotions near your treatment area.
Your radiation treatments will be administered Monday through Friday typically over an eight week period. If you miss a treatment day, that treatment will be made up at the end so that the initial, prescribed number of treatments is achieved. During your treatment course, you will meet with your radiation oncologist at least one time per week to assess your progress. After business hours and on weekends, if a medical concern should arise, your oncologist is on-call and available for medical matters 24 hours a day by calling the center’s main phone number. 856-751-9010
At your last day of treatment, a follow-up appointment with your oncologist will be arranged as well as specific post-treatment instructions as it pertains to diet, medication usage, activities, medical conditions, and follow-up radiologic studies. Further, a letter will be sent to your primary care physician and referring doctor regarding your follow-up care.
Accredited by the premier credentialing body for radiation oncology, ACR (The American College of Radiology).
The Delaware Valley Urology Cancer Treatment Center
2090 Springdale Rd,
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
Featuring the Philadelphia area's first RapidArc Radiotherapy suite