You will have a CT scan or MRI to create a personalized treatment plan. Your doctor will use 3D images and special software to establish the precise contours for each tumor and any regions of risk (sensitive organs or structures). Your doctor will decide how much radiation the tumor should receive and the appropriate pattern, position and intensity of the radiation beam will be calculated.
Ink marks or small tattoo-like dots may be placed on your skin in the area of the tumor to ensure the radiation is delivered to the tumor. The markings are visible on your skin, but only in the area of the tumor and are not permanent. They are designed to fade and will begin to disappear towards the end of your radiation treatments. Occasionally, the markings will have to be reapplied to your skin during treatment. It is very important that you do not scrub the markings, during your bathing/showering. Your radiation therapist will discuss with you how to care for your skin during your treatments, including protecting the markings. You may also need a custom-fitted molded device to help keep you in the same position before and during treatment.
Our radiation therapists will bring you from the waiting room into the treatment room with the linear accelerator (stereotactic radiation machine) and help you with dressing and properly positioned and comfortable on the table.
Two therapists will align the laser to the target on your skin, indicated by the “tattoo-like” markings. Alignment takes only a couple of minutes. The therapists will leave the room to deliver and monitor your treatment.
During the stereotactic radiosurgery treatment, the machine will move around your body. You won’t feel anything. It’s much like having an x-ray. Sometimes the specific area of skin receiving treatment, can get tender and sunburned, your healthcare team will want to know if you are experiencing any burning or discomfort during your treatment. Your healthcare team will guide you with proper care of your skin.
Typically the treatment takes about 10-15 minutes.
The most common side effect of radiation therapy is fatigue – it is very important to get plenty of rest and adequate nutrition. Generally, you will see your doctor weekly. We are always available if you need us.