If you’ve been referred to a Minneapolis Radiation Oncology treatment center by your oncologist, your next step is to make an appointment for a consultation. This is when you’ll meet with a radiation oncologist to determine if radiation therapy is right for you. A radiation oncologist is a physician who has special training in using radiation to treat diseases.
Your consultation will last one to two hours. This will give your radiation oncologist time to review your records and examine you. During your visit, you’ll discuss possible treatment options, along with the risks and benefits of radiation therapy.
You will also meet with a radiation therapy nurse who will explain the treatment process, including how sessions are scheduled, possible side effects, and what you can do to take care of yourself during and after treatment. This is a good time to ask any questions you have about radiation therapy. Read our Frequently Asked Questions.
Your first visit
When you arrive at your MRO radiation therapy center, check in at the front desk. Our medical secretary will copy your insurance card and make sure all your paperwork is in order.
You will begin by meeting with a nurse in an examination room. He or she will become a familiar face over the course of your treatment. At least once a week after your first visit, your nurse will meet with you to explain where you are in the process, answer your questions, and provide information on skin care, dietary needs and managing side effects.
Next, you will meet your physician to discuss your care and treatment options. As your treatment continues, you will meet with your physician at least once a week to monitor your progress and care.
During your first visit, or shortly afterward, you may go through what’s called a simulation. This is where our MRO care team will position you as you would be for radiation treatment, and precise measurements will be taken to pinpoint the exact location of the treatment area on your body. An immobilization device, such as a facemask or pillow that conforms to your body shape, may be created to ensure you are in the same position daily for your treatment. Small tattoos and ink markings may also be applied to your skin. These markings assist the radiation therapist in targeting the appropriate area. The simulation process generally lasts 30 to 60 minutes, and there are usually no food or drink restrictions prior to simulation.
The information obtained from your simulation and scans will be used to plan your customized radiation treatment. Once your treatment plan has been completed, you may return to the treatment center to have the plan verified on the actual machine.
After your simulation, we will schedule your radiation treatments. At MRO, we provide therapy Monday through Friday, and each treatment course usually lasts between 1 and 8 weeks. The number of treatments varies person to person, and will be determined as part of your treatment planning. Each individual treatment takes between 5 and 30 minutes.
Next: Care team
Use this checklist to help prepare for your initial consultation.
- Call the clinic before your visit to make sure we have all your medical records.
- Plan to spend at least two hours in the clinic for your appointment.
- Bring your insurance card/information to your first appointment.
- Bring a list of all the medicines you are currently taking, or bring the bottles with you.
- It is often helpful to bring a friend or a family member with you.
You can eliminate some waiting time by filling out these forms before your visit: