Radiation Therapy Treatment Steps

The following is a typical example of a stereotactic radiosurgery treatment.

1) Patient Set-up

The doctor or nurse preps the patient including any intravenous (lV) requirements such as contrast dye, medicines, and fluids. At the same time, the patient’s personalized treatment plan is loaded on the radiosurgery screens in the control room just outside the treatment room.

2) Plan Review

The medical physicist and radiation oncologist review the stereotactic radiosurgery treatment plan that was created using advanced image enrichment and visualization tools. This sophisticated software allows the treatment team to define and contour precisely the size and shape of the spinal tumor, noting its position in relation to other structures like the spinal cord. The treatment plan may include a 3D reconstruction of the tumor to help determine the appropriate dose and treatment configuration.

Prior to performing the procedure, a series of strict quality checks are performed to measure the planned accuracy and safety of the radiation treatment to be delivered.

3) Treatment Delivery

The patient is taken into the treatment room and positioned comfortably on the treatment table. The patient is secured to prevent any movement during the treatment. If needed, the patient can communicate with the treatment team at any time during the session.

Depending upon the type of system used in external beam radiation therapy, the session may last as few as twenty minutes or as long as 90 minutes but the ‘beam-on’ time is only a few minutes. Most patients are able to go home after each treatment session. Some treatment courses can even be completed in just one session.

Once you determine the best course of treatment with your doctor, you can plan out your full day and get back to your daily routine after treatment.

Follow-up, post-treatment is critical to the treatment. Regular clinical and imaging follow-up with your treating physicians and cancer care team are critical to assessing the desired outcomes of the treatment.