Pre-Treatment

Welcome to Your First Day

We know how daunting it feels when you arrive for your first day of treatment. Our team is here to help make your experience as comforting as possible. Click below to see what happens on your first day at GenesisCare.

Before radiotherapy commences, you will need to have an initial consultation with a radiation oncologist, and a CT simulation appointment. Once treatment starts, arrangements will be made for you to have regular progress reviews with the Radiation Oncologist.

INITIAL CONSULTATION (40 – 60 MINUTES)
This consultation is where you will have your first opportunity to hear how radiotherapy can be used to best treat your cancer. To do this the radiation oncologist needs to review your medical records, and discusses radiation therapy as a treatment option. An examination may be required at this appointment and any relevant X-ray films, CT scans, MRIs and other scans should be brought along.

At this time you can discuss treatment outcomes and expectations with your radiation oncologist including any likely acute and long term side effects, your individual needs, facts and misconceptions and the likely treatment duration. Complementary services from dietitians, dentists, clinical psychologists, speech pathologists or occupational therapists may also be arranged.

At the completion of this consultation, arrangements are made for a CT simulation appointment. One of our bookings clerk coordinators will  phone you with details for your appointment within a week.

If an appointment is urgently needed rest assured access on the same day can usually be accommodated.

A resource you might also find helpful is a pamphlet called questions to ask your health professionals developed by the Cancer Institute NSW. The brochure has been designed in consultation with health professionals and contains a question prompt lists that helps you to get the information you want about your illness and possible treatment options.

You and your family can use this pamphlet to help you decide what you need to ask your health professional each time you have an appointment.

Rest assured that your radiation oncologist and other Adelaide Radiotherapy Centre staff are keen to answer any questions you may have, either at your initial consultation or at future appointments. If you feel as though your questions have already been answered, then this pamphlet can serve as a checklist.

Remember you can ask your radiation oncologist or Adelaide Radiotherapy Centre staff to explain anything you are unclear about or to explain any words you are not familiar with.

SIMULATION/PLANNING (15 MINUTES TO 1 HOUR)
At your simulation/planning appointment you will be greeted by a radiation therapist, who explains what you can expect, answers any questions and collects any private X-rays, MRIs or other scans to assist the radiation oncologist in planning your treatment. These will be returned to you at the beginning of treatment.

Each CT simulation procedure varies depending on the area being treated, complexity of treatment, amount of planning information required by the radiation oncologist.

You will attend one of our dedicated CT simulation scanners. This CT simulation scanning procedure, whilst similar to other scans you may have had in the past, is specifically set-up to record all the necessary image, body shape and position detail needed to ensure that daily treatments can be delivered accurately on repeat occasions throughout your treatment course.

Room lights will be dimmed to allow the radiation therapists to see localisation lasers that facilitate the daily replication of your treatment position. The skin in the area needing treatment needs to be visible so you will be often asked to change into one of our patient gowns. We also realise that you will need to be comfortable in order to maintain the daily position as you will need to lie still while the radiation therapists go through this CT simulation process and of course once you start treatments. Every effort will therefore be made to balance the need for a treatment optimal position and comfort; this helps to ensure your compliance and makes the daily treatment undertakings and less challenging exercise.

Water based non-toxic markers are used on your skin; these are easily wiped off after CT simulation is complete. Various stabilisation and immobilisation devices may also be used to help keep you in the required treatment position, it is therefore very important early on that you let the radiation therapists know if it's difficult or uncomfortable to stay in a particular position.

In most cases tiny reference tattoo dots are also placed on the skin in the treatment area, which are then used for treatment positioning. These are not noticeable on casual observations.

At the end of the CT simulation appointment the radiation therapist will provide you with your first week's worth of treatment appointment times. Every effort is made to best accommodate any special needs or requests.

Generally an appointment with the radiation oncology nurse occurs on the same day as the CT simulation appointment. This session takes the form of an information session and takes about 11- 15 minutes. It provides for a wonderful opportunity for you to revisit any areas of ambiguity, discuss effective ways to assist with side effects of your disease, go over any possible treatment side effects mentioned to you by your radiation oncologist and also talk through other strategies for helping cope with the radiotherapy treatment commitment you will be making over the coming weeks. The nurse is available to discuss any areas of concern throughout your treatment course.