Radiation Oncology is a specialized method of treating cancer using high-energy radiation in the form of x-rays, gamma rays, or charged particles (protons) to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells.
Radiation may be delivered by a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy), or it may come from radioactive material placed inside the body near cancer cells (internal radiation therapy, also called brachytherapy).
About half of all cancer patients receive some type of radiation therapy during the course of their treatment. Radiation therapy may be prescribed alone of in addition to other treatment methods, such as chemotherapy and/or surgery.
Radiation therapy is a minimally invasive and highly effective treatment. It causes only mild side effects, and provides patients new promise in their fight against cancer.
This is how The Process works:
Each step is designed to give patients every advantage in their fight against cancer.
Initial Consultation: Once you and your medical oncologist have decided that beginning radiation therapy seems like an appropriate addition to your course of cancer treatments, your medical oncologist will recommend that you come in for a consultation with one of our radiation oncologists. This consultation is an opportunity for one of our doctors to meet with you and answer any questions you may have, learn about your condition, give you a physical examination, explain what to expect from your treatments, and, finally, determine if radiation therapy is right for you. It is also an opportunity for you to meet our staff and tour our facility. We provide as much time as is necessary to answer your questions in detail and help you make the right choice about radiation therapy.
Simulation/Treatment Planning: The next step is to develop a treatment plan. A radiation oncologist, radiation therapist, physicist and dosimetrist, work together all under one roof to create a precise, personalized plan. To start this process, you will have a CT simulation scan to help define the treatment areas. Corresponding areas on the skin will be marked with small tattoos. A treatment schedule is also created at this time.
Treatment: You will be positioned daily by a radiation therapist for treatment. He/she will then leave the room during the treatment, but will be able to observe and communicate with you the entire time. The machine may rotate around you as the radiation dose is delivered. Nothing will be felt during the treatment.
At least once a week, you will meet with your radiation oncologist so that he/she can address any side effects or questions that you may have and make any necessary adjustments to your treatments. Our oncology nurses, dieticians, and social workers will also be available to you on a regular basis and you will likely get to know everyone in the Circle of Care quite well.
Follow-up: Approximately one month after your treatments are completed, you will be scheduled to come back to the office for a consultation/evaluation with a radiation oncologist. Your radiation oncologist will continue to see you on a regular basis to monitor your condition and address any issues that may arise. Our team is always here for you!
If you have questions regarding the treatment options available at Princeton Radiation Oncology, or would like to schedule a consultation with one of our Radiation Oncologists, please contact us at any time.