Your next visit to the Cancer Centre will be your verification (trial run) appointment. At this appointment, one of your radiation therapists will explain the radiation therapy procedure in detail to you; for example, you may discuss what to expect to happen for the rest of your treatment, any preparation you need to do for your daily treatment, and potential side effects that you might experience. Any questions or concerns that you may have will be answered. Some patients find it useful to have a friend or family member accompany them on this day.
Your verification is like a trial run of your treatment plan. The radiation therapists will position you on the linear accelerator treatment bed in exactly the same position as you were in for your simulation scan; to do so, the therapists will use the three reference marks that were put on your skin at that scan, if applicable.
A series of measurements and images (like X-Rays) will be taken to ensure that everything is set up as expected based on your treatment plan. During this visit, you will hear the radiation therapists calling out a variety of numbers and measurements to each other as they move the treatment machine around. It is important that you lie as still as you can while this is going on — try to relax! You will not feel or see anything and it will not hurt.
The entire verification process can take up to 30 minutes; this is the longest session you will have. Subsequent treatments usually last for 10 to 20 minutes each day.
In most cases, your treatment will start the day after the verification appointment; occasionally, the first treatment will be given at the verification appointment as well.
Consultant radiation oncologists design treatments to ensure the best possible result for each patient; as a result, the number of days of treatment and the type of treatment received will differ for everyone. Ar your verification appointment, you will be informed as to how many treatments you will be receiving: treatments may range from 1 to 45 treatments total, depending on the area of the body being treated.
Your treatment is delivered during the week, Monday to Friday with a break over the weekends. It is important that you comply with the prescription and attend your radiation therapy sessions daily.