Our Radiation Therapy Program
Our radiation therapy team in Myrtle Beach, SC is passionate about your health and committed to giving you all the support you need through this journey.
Preparing for Radiation Therapy
The process of radiation therapy is customized for you, depending on which form of radiation therapy you and your physician choose as the best option. There are four steps of radiation therapy: consultation, simulation, treatment planning and treatment delivery.
Consultation is the first step of the radiation therapy process. This involves an appointment with our radiation oncologist, who reviews your medical records, pathology reports, radiology images and performs a physical examination. If, based on this review, treatment by radiation therapy is chosen, you will be offered an appointment for simulation.
During simulation, a special CT scan positions and marks the area being treated for radiation therapy. Images from the scan are used to determine the exact treatment plan. To make sure the radiation therapy treats the exact same place in the body each time, a device such as a mold or mask may be designed to help you remain in the same position each day. Such devices are not necessary for all patients. At the end of the simulation, several small marks may be placed on the skin to identify the area to be treated. Our team will discuss with you how to protect the marks so they remain in place.
This step of the radiation process involves our radiation oncologist, physicist and dosimetrist. Using the CT scan images, they work together to design the field of radiation therapy treatment. The focus of treatment planning is to deliver a high dose of radiation to the tumor while limiting the dose received by surrounding healthy tissue. This helps preserve normal tissue and reduces treatment side effects. Treatment plans are customized for each patient and become the blueprint for treatment delivery.
On the first day of treatment, you will be placed in the position for treatment using immobilization devices that might be necessary. Our radiation therapists are responsible for positioning and delivering the radiation dose prescribed by our radiation oncologist. Images are taken on the first day of treatment and at regular intervals, if necessary. These images confirm that the area of the body being treated has not changed position.
Weekly Status Checks
During radiation therapy, our team will see you at least once a week to follow your progress, evaluate side effects, recommend treatment for side effects and answer any questions. As treatment progresses, our physicians may order blood tests, imaging and other tests to measure how you are responding to treatment. If the size of a tumor changes significantly, another simulation may be required.
Post Treatment Follow-up
After treatment is completed, a follow-up appointment is scheduled to monitor your recovery and overall health. Status reports are sent to all physicians involved in your care. As time goes by, the frequency of visits will decrease, but our team is always available to talk with you and address any questions and concerns you may have.