Your first medical oncology appointment
When you make your first appointment, the receptionist will let you know what information you’ll need to bring with you. This will likely include all of your x-rays, MRI and CT scans, and reports, which will allow us to perform a comprehensive consultation. After your visit, we will report promptly to your referring and family doctors.
At Highline Cancer Center, you will be set up with a pre-treatment visit to create an individualized treatment plan. During this visit you will meet with the social worker, pharmacist and nursing staff, as well as receive a tour of the clinic.
Your first cancer treatment
When making your appointment at the infusion clinic, we will let you know how long your treatment will take and if there are any pre-treatment requirements. This could include getting your blood drawn for laboratory tests the day before your appointment.
At the time of your first visit, we’ll develop an individualized treatment plan for you. This will make this first visit longer than the rest of your visits. We encourage you to ask lots of questions and bring along activities to keep yourself occupied, like a laptop, DVD player or book to read during your treatment.
Your first radiation oncology appointment
Your first appointment with a radiation oncologist will be a consultation. This visit will include a health history, a physical exam and a discussion of treatment recommendations and/or options. It may be necessary to schedule other diagnostic tests in order to determine the best course of treatment and/or your physical ability to start treatment.
The next scheduled appointment is usually for review and discussion of test results and/or for a simulation. This appointment typically takes 30 to 90 minutes, and involves using either a specialized CT scan or other X-ray films to determine the treatment field position.
Once we have determined the treatment areas on your body, we will mark them with either a pen or a tattoo. The temporary pen markings should not be washed off until you are instructed to do so. If you are marked with the permanent tattoos, please do not attempt to remove them. They are a record of the location of the treatment field for your current treatment, and may need to be identified again in the future. If a CT scan is required either before or sometime during your treatment, it will be performed on-site where we have a specialized, dedicated scanner used only for radiation treatment planning. This scan typically takes 10 to 30 minutes.
In order to complete the complex computerized treatment planning, treatment usually begins between seven to 10 business days after the simulation appointment. Additional time may be necessary for planning the more technical forms of therapy. The number of treatments prescribed by your radiation oncologist will depend on the size, location, type and radio sensitivity of the disease or tumor, as well as your general health. Treatment time varies by individual and depends on the type of treatment. Generally, treatments are short and painless. The radiation therapists will position you on the treatment machine and will then leave the room during the actual treatment. It will be important for you to lie very still during the treatment. You will be able to communicate with the radiation therapist during treatment, and monitored via an audio-visual system.
Treatments are generally given daily, Monday through Friday, at approximately the same time each day. We will attempt to accommodate any scheduling requests as best we can. Occasionally, there may be an unavoidable delay that will necessitate you waiting beyond your scheduled appointment time, and we apologize should this occur. We assure you, however, that we do make every possible attempt to keep the treatment schedule on time.