Planning Your Treatment
Before your treatment begins, your radiation therapy team at Staten Island Radiation Oncology will take several steps to ensure that your treatment plan is customized to best treat your particular condition. Be sure to speak with them and ask any questions you may have. Here is a brief overview of the planning and treatment process.
- The first step is for your tumor to be precisely targeted by our advanced diagnostic scanner so our team knows its exact shape and position. Remember that the x-ray beams will be "sculpted" to deliver the radiation where it’s needed and to spare healthy tissue.
- Treatment Planning
- In the next step, our physicians will prescribe the most effective total dose of radiation and the limits of radiation for the surrounding healthy tissue. To determine how the total dose will be administered, sophisticated computer software is used to determine establish beam shapes and exposure times as well as the number of treatment sessions.
- Prior to your first treatment, the team will position you on the treatment table and explain every step of the process. Because our treatment times are short, you may be asked to lie on your back, side or stomach, with immobilizers that help you stay in the exact position needed. A painless laser provides the team with landmarks and certain marks may be made on your body with marker to assist with aligning the machine that delivers the radiation.
- For the actual treatments, you may be asked to change into a gown and you will be assisted to the table and placed in the exact position you were in during simulation. The immobilizers will again be used to enhance your comfort in maintaining the position needed. Remember, RADIATION TREATMENT IS PAINLESS. You will see the machine move and you will hear a humming noise. During your treatment, the team is required to step outside the treatment room but they will watch you on closed circuit monitors and you can speak with them during the process.
- Side Effects
- If you are receiving external beam radiation, you DO NOT become radioactive. If is safe for you to resume normal activities and be near your family members. Side effects depend on the amount and number of treatments but are generally mild and may be limited to red, itchy or tanned skin. You may feel fatigue at some point during your course of treatment and it is important to maintain a healthy diet. You are encouraged to continue your normal daily activities. Please report any reactions to your therapy team as soon as they occur.
- Length of Treatment
- Your treatment course may last several weeks and you may need to come to treatment five days a week. To get the most from the treatment, it is essential that your tumor gets the full dose of radiation prescribed in the timeframe calculated by the radiation oncology team. If you must miss an appointment, please call us right away so a new visit can be set. In general, missing a single appointment does not change overall effectiveness if it is made up quickly.
Proper Nutrition is very important when undergoing treatment for cancer. Getting the right kinds of food can help you feel better and keep your strength up when undergoing cancer treatment. It is best to get a good understanding of nutrition and the food your body needs before you start you cancer treatment.
It is important to understand that the cancer itself, as well as the treatment, can affect your appetite. You will need to start eating as well as you can before your treatment starts, as well as during your treatment to help you feel your best, and to help you recover from your illness. Good nutrition needs to start with an understanding of what food you need to keep you healthy.
- Protein is needed for growth, for tissue repair, and to keep your immune system healthy enough to fight off disease. With cancer, you will need more protein to help your body recover from the cancer, as well as the chemotherapy or radiation provided as treatment. This protein will help repair the diseased and damaged tissue. Protein can be found in lean sources of meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, nuts, beans, peas and soy.
- Despite all of the information available in the media, fats are also an important part of the diet. Fats are a source of energy for your body, but, you must consider carefully the kinds of fats you should eat. The best sources of fats are called monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. These good fats are found in vegetables, fish, olive oil, peanut oil, and canola oil. You should restrict your intake of saturated fats and trans fatty acids. Saturated fats are found in meat, coconut oil, butter, and poultry. Trans fatty acids are found in snack foods or fast food or anything made with partially hydrogenated oil or shortening.
- Carbohydrates provide the body with fuel for physical activity and proper organ function. Carbohydrates come from many sources. The best sources of carbohydrates are fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These foods also provide needed vitamins and fiber. Sweets also provide carbohydrates, however, they provide few nutrients.
- Nutrition During Cancer Treatment
- Your cancer treatment might have an effect on your ability to eat and keep a healthy weight. However, you must continue to eat healthy food to keep your strength up and provide your body the nutrients it needs to repair itself from the cancer. Consider making foods which are high in calories if you do not feel like eating. If you are having a problem with vomiting, smaller more frequent meals may be what you need. Always speak with your doctor if you are having any problems.