Steps of Radiation Therapy

Here are some basic steps you can expect when you come to Adventist Health Portland for your radiation therapy.

Meet your radiation oncologist: The first step is to visit with your radiation oncologist, the doctor who will be managing your treatment. Your radiation oncologist may ask for diagnostic procedures to be undertaken, either in the radiation therapy department or at a general hospital. These can include X-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) scans, biopsies and blood tests. Once the nature of the disease has been established, treatment will be planned and prescribed by your cancer care team.

Treatment planning: Once your images and tests are done, your physician develops a treatment plan. The treatment plan is created using treatment planning software, which calculates the position, dose and frequency of the treatment.

Treatment: Treatment may be given on an outpatient or inpatient basis. You will usually receive the same treatment each day for a course of treatment, which can last up to six weeks. Treatment is monitored regularly for adverse side effects or weight loss. During each treatment, you'll lie still under the machine. It's completely painless.

Verification: During treatment, we verify where the cancer target is by using built-in imaging on Elekta Infinity. These images are used to verify both the patient position and the accuracy of the treatment beam.

Follow-up: When the treatment is completed, most patients have follow-up visits over time. How long depends on each person's unique situation and other treatments.