What to Expect

What happens during radiation therapy?
Here are the steps you’ll go through at Covenant Radiation Center.

1. Consultation
The radiation oncologist may ask for diagnostic procedures to be done, either in the radiation therapy department or at the hospital. These can include x-rays, CT scan, MRI, PET scans, biopsies and blood tests. Once the nature of the disease has been established, a treatment regime will be planned and prescribed.

2. Imaging
MRI, CT or PET scanning, or ultrasound is required to determine the exact size, shape and location of the area to be treated. These images are then used to plan the patients’ treatment. You are positioned exactly as you will be for your treatments. Marks are made on your skin to indicate the treatment area. Once you are positioned, images are acquired to help plan your treatment.

3. Treatment Planning
Once your images have been taken your physician prescribes the dose of radiation and number of treatments. The physicist and dosimetrist work closely with your radiation oncologist to plan your treatment using special computer software. You do not need to be present for this step of planning.

4. Delivery (Treatment)
Treatment may be given on an out-patient or in-patient basis. It is important to receive your treatments as planned. Patients usually receive the same treatment each weekday lasting up to eight weeks. Treatment is monitored regularly and you will see your doctor weekly.

To receive the radiation therapy, you will lie on a couch under the machine, and be asked to remain still during the actual treatment. Once all is ready, your radiation therapist leaves the room to monitor your treatment. The gantry of the linear accelerator begins to rotate around you, as you breathe normally. You may see and hear this movement, but the treatment is completely painless. Radiation cannot be seen or felt while it is being given.

During treatment a process of verification takes place. By using built-in imaging on Versa HD, images are taken of the treatment area. These images are used to verify both the patient position and the accuracy of the treatment beam.

5. Follow-up
Once your course of treatment is completed, you attend follow-up clinics for up to five years, to monitor your disease and manage any post-treatment side effects.

For more information or to schedule a consult, contact us at 989.583.5250.