As you begin your cancer journey, your radiation oncologist will be one of the first people you meet. Together you will discuss options, benefits, side effects, effectiveness of treatment and answer questions.
Before treatment can begin, your radiation oncologist will do a physical exam and review your medical history. You are encouraged to ask questions and be involved in every decision of your care. After this initial meeting, you will decide whether to proceed with radiation treatment.
If you decide to have radiation treatment, a simulation will be performed. You will meet with the radiation therapy team to plan the simulation and pinpoint the treatment area.
The dosimetrist will use a CT scanner to locate the exact place on the body where the radiation will be aimed. You will need to lie still for this scan. This may require a stabilization device to ensure you will stay in the exact same position throughout every treatment. A small permanent tattoo will also be placed on your body to align the body to the exact same location for all treatments. Photos of the treatment area and position will be taken and added to your medical record.
The simulation will give you an accurate idea of what your future treatments will feel like. The radiation therapist will leave the treatment room while the radiation is being given. You won’t feel anything as the treatment is delivered. The time it takes will vary between 15 to 30 minutes and once it is finished, the therapist will come back into the room.
Your first visit
Your nurse navigator will help coordinate your care, navigate insurance and financial concerns, and answer any questions you may have. Our team will also work with you to schedule your treatment at a time convenient to you.
Please arrive 15 minutes early for your scheduled appointment time. If you need to reschedule your appointment, please call (701) 234-5126. If you arrive late, your appointment may need to be rescheduled. Once you arrive, we have private changing rooms to ensure your privacy while you change and prepare for treatment.
Please bring the following to your appointment:
- All medications in their original containers including over the counter medications such as Tylenol, aspirin, stool softeners, and herbs and supplements such as vitamins.
- All health insurance cards.
Follow up care
Depending on your diagnosis your cancer care team will design a plan that is specific to you and your needs. Cancer may be treated in many ways including:
- Biological therapy
- Hormonal manipulation.
- Diet: important to maintain your weight during radiation therapy
Keep a list of questions and issues in between treatments. Bring the list to follow-up appointments to ask your doctor. Potential questions include:
- What kind of radiation therapy will I get?
- How does radiation therapy help?
- How many weeks will my treatments last?
- How long will each treatment take?
- What side effects should I expect? Will they go away?
- Are there late side effects?
- How can I manage side effects?