Cancer Treatment What to Expect UCLA Radiation Oncology

Cancer Treatment What to Expect UCLA Radiation Oncology

Welcome, and thank you for choosing UCLA health radiation oncology for your care I am Michael Steinberg chairman of the department of radiation oncology at UCLA this video provides instructions and information on what to expect before during and after your treatment, you can be assured you will be cared for by expert physicians and our professional and compassionate nurses and staff if you have any additional questions after watching this video please do not hesitate to ask your doctor or one of our staff we are committed to providing you with the highest quality of care we are here for you. The UCLA radiation oncology department is dedicated to making sure that your treatment is delivered in the safest and most accurate manner to the right locations and in the correct amounts, your treatment is a team effort. Your radiation oncologist develops and oversees your treatment plan and monitors your progress. A medical resident or fellow may work with your radiation oncologist in managing your care. A team of nurses and medical assistants will help you during your visit and with any possible side effects, you may experience. Your radiation therapists deliver your prescribed radiation dose at each session. The dosimetry as calculating your precise radiation dose in order to minimize radiation exposure to healthy tissues and organs. A medical physicist oversees the work of your dosimeters and helps ensure that complex treatments are properly tailored for you. Your social worker is here to support you and your family. A navigator will contact you prior to your first appointment. To make sure you are prepared for your visit to our department.

                                                                        We also work together with your surgeon’s medical oncologist resident physicians and your own family doctor to ensure you get the best and safest treatment possible. During your first consultation, the radiation oncologist will perform physical review images and make a recommendation if you decide to proceed with treatment you will be scheduled for a simulation appointment. Your treatment begins with the planning session called a simulation the radiation must be aimed precisely at the same target each and every time treatment is given and this planning simulation helps ensure accuracy. The therapist will position you based on the positions instructions you may be fitted with a customized device such as a vacuum bag that is used to hold your body in place for the treatment of a plastic mesh mask that is used for treatment to the head and neck. Your therapist may draw marks on your skin or on the customized advised during simulation so that your exact position can be used for every treatment session in some cases we may also recommend a permanent tattoo the size of a freckle. The therapist then goes into the control room to closely monitor you our staff can see and hear you at all times and the machine can be stopped at any time. Lights are used to help confirm your precise alignment these lights are not harmful or painful there solely for positioning purposes. After the simulation, we will help you schedule your treatment appointments. Before your next visit, your radiation oncology team spends many hours collaborating on a treatment plan specifically tailored to you this also includes quality assurance testing of your plan to ensure your treatment is safe and accurate. Radiation therapy is painless the beams are directed precisely at the treatment site at UCLA we have many types of radiation machines and your doctor will determine which one is best for your care. When you arrive for your daily treatment you will check-in using the barcode scanner which informs the therapist team that you have arrived. At each visit, our board-certified therapists will position you on the table to make sure you are properly aligned for treatment treatments are scheduled for weekdays while some patients require less than five treatment sessions patients can typically expect five to seven weeks of treatment the length of treatment time can range from fifteen minutes to twenty minutes up to one hour in some cases.

The size location and diagnosis determined the number of appointments and length of daily treatment. You may bring a friend or family member to your appointment but they cannot come inside the treatment area at the time of simulation and on your first day of treatment our team of therapists will walk you through the experience answering any questions you may have your treatment may include additional imaging within the department these additional M. arise X. rays and CT scans help us confirm the accuracy of your treatment and positioning at every visit. Radiation therapy is usually given as a series of outpatient treatment the majority of patients will not need to take a leave from work or require extended recuperation period you will have a weekly check-in called in on-treatment visit with your radiation team to discuss any concerns review your progress and answer any questions you can also communicate with your care team at any time using UCLA’s online patient portal mine dot UCLA health dot org. As one of the country’s leading academic medical centers UCLA conducts important cancer research some studies help us learn more about cancer in the hopes of developing new treatments or cures in the future other studies are designed to provide specific benefits to the patient a team member will reach out if there’s a study that could be a good fit. Your treatment plan includes education about side effects the specific side effects you may have to depend on the type of radiation. The dose and treatment area side effects vary from person to person and your reaction to a treatment may be completely different than that of another person receiving the exact same treatment please discuss any concerns with your doctor or nurse.

                                                                      The area of the skin where you were receiving treatment may become red and sensitive similar to sunburn our nursing team will provide information that will help you care for your skin. Most patients are able to eat normally and follow their usual work and exercise routines during their treatment your doctor will discuss what’s appropriate for you. By the end of your treatment, you may experience fatigue so it is important to make sure you are well-rested. It is common to feel anxious. Or nervous. We encourage you to talk about these feelings with your loved ones or any member of your treatment team who can connect you to the many resources available at UCLA. After your treatment is complete follow-up appointments will be scheduled so that your radiation oncologist can make sure your recovery is proceeding normally your doctor may also order additional lab tests for imaging studies. As time goes by the number of times you will need to return to our department will decrease however you should know that your team will always be available should you need to speak with someone. We hope this video has been helpful answering some of your questions about your treatment we understand this may be a challenging emotional and sensitive time for you and your family but you can be assured that all of us here at UCLA radiation oncology we’ll do everything we can to keep you safe comfortable and on your way to a successful recovery if you have any further questions please talk to your doctor or one of our staff we are here for you.

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