Your treatment plan is custom-tailored to your medical status, and is designed to achieve the treatment objectives developed by your radiation oncology physician.
Prior to the start of actual radiation treatments, it is necessary to perform pre-treatment planning and simulation. This involves performing X-ray imaging procedures to define the treatment area (or multiple treatment areas in some cases) that will receive radiation therapy. This is usually completed in one appointment, but occasionally may require a second appointment.
You will be given an appointment card with the time and date of your first appointment for treatment.
- Your appointment time will usually be the same throughout your course of treatment (for example, Tuesdays at 2:15 pm or Thursdays at 10:45 am). Routine treatments are scheduled from Monday through Friday on a daily basis between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm, except for holidays.
- Please arrive 10 minutes ahead of time. We treat many patients here, and appointments are scheduled at 15-minute intervals. There are a limited number of treatment machines and treatment "slots". Arriving 10 minutes early allows you enough time to change and be ready for treatment at your scheduled time. This helps eliminate waiting for all of our patients. Please call your Therapist if you may be late or will miss a treatment.
Daily Treatment Appointments for Several Weeks
Radiation therapy is usually given on a structured schedule over the course of several weeks - typically 6 - 8 weeks.
Treatments generally are completed within 15 minutes, but could be longer, depending on complexity.
Weekly Assessment Meetings
You will meet once each week with your radiation oncologist and nurse to assess your progress. This meeting day should not vary, unless a major holiday, emergency or other conflict interferes.
At least weekly and sometimes daily, the therapist will take your "port films" or X-rays that verify your treatment setup and treatment prescription. This is one way to ensure the quality and accuracy of your radiation therapy. Port films do not give your physician information on the status of your cancer.
Variations from the Routine
Some days, your appointment will be longer than usual. Blood drawing days, on-treatment visits (OTV), and end-of-treatment visits (ETV) with your nurse and physician are examples of longer appointment days.
Rescheduling an Appointment
As much as possible, we will try to schedule the treatments at times that are convenient for you. Please let your Therapist know if there is a specific time that works best for you, or any ongoing time conflicts you may have. We will do our best to accommodate your request, but cannot guarantee that the specific time you want will be available. If you must see your Radiation Oncologist on a day other than your regularly scheduled day, please let your Nurse or Therapist know. They will help you arrange a different time to see the physician. Your Therapist or clinic coordinator will advise you of any schedule changes caused by major holidays. We understand that emergencies and occasional conflicts may occur at your appointment time. It is best that you do not skip any treatments or other clinic appointments. Therefore, if you must reschedule your appointment, please call us as soon as possible. (One day's notice is helpful.)
Inclement Weather In The Washington DC, Maryland And Virginia Area
Staff will make every attempt to report for work. It is advised to call first to verify the department is open. If you feel you cannot safely make your appointment, please call 202.537.4788 and change the appointment or leave a message in the general mailbox.
Billing and Insurance
The Radiation Oncology Administrative Assistant will interview you about your insurance/ health care provider and contact them regarding your eligibility under your current plan. Depending on the coverage you have, you may receive 2 separate bills. One is for the Physician (professional service) and the second is for the Hospital (technical service).