Please note: if you do not find the information you are looking for here, do not hesitate to contact us directly – we are here to help.
Before Your Treatment
What should I bring to my consultation visit?
You should bring your health insurance cards and a list of all medications you are currently taking including name and dosage or the bottles for each medicine. This should include herbal supplements, over the counter, and prescription medications.
Can a family member or friend come with me to my consultation visit?
Yes, we encourage family members or close friends to participate in the initial consult with Dr. Studt, your radiation oncologist. Since we share a large amount of information in the first appointment, it may be helpful to have others there to listen with you and to provide emotional support. You are also welcome to come alone, if you wish.
What should I expect during my consultation visit?
Your first visit to the cancer center will be a busy one. Please plan to spend about one to two hours in the clinic. When you arrive at the center, you will register with the receptionist and then have a seat in the waiting room. You will be called into an exam room to view a video about radiation therapy. You will have your blood pressure and weight checked. During this visit, you will discuss the daily routine of your radiation therapy treatment. Dr. Studt will answer any questions you have about your treatment and may order additional lab tests or imaging studies, if needed.
What should I do if I want a second opinion?
If you would like a second opinion, we encourage you to seek one. Feel free to discuss this with Dr. Studt and he will instruct you on how to get an appointment scheduled.
What should I expect during my planning visit?
Your radiation therapy begins with a planning visit. To ensure the radiation therapy you receive can be given the same way each time, your treatment team will fine-tune the location of the treatment and decide on the exact position you will be in during each treatment.
Dr. Studt and the radiation therapy team use a special procedure called CT simulation to determine your exact treatment position. The simulator and laser lights are used as guides to move you into correct position. The radiation therapy team then makes notes in your chart so you will be placed in the correct position each time you receive a treatment. Your skin will be marked over the treatment area so each treatment will target the same area. A photograph will be taken of these markings and placed in your medical chart.
While the simulation uses CT images to determine the treatment area, the images are not used for any sort of diagnosis or treatment assessment. They are only to ensure you are exactly where you need to be to treat your cancer. Occasionally, the treatment area may change as the treatment progresses. When this happens, Dr. Studt and the radiation therapy team may change your treatment lines or a new planning visit may be needed.
During Your Treatment
Should someone come with me each time I have a radiation treatment?
Family and friends can be very supportive, and they are always welcome to accompany you to your appointments, although this is not required. Physically, you will be able to function normally and will not be groggy. Unless you are feeling ill or tired, you should be able to drive yourself home after your appointment. If there are any driving limitations, Dr. Studt or the radiation therapy team will inform you or your family.
What should I expect during my treatment visits?
Each visit typically takes 10 to 30 minutes. Undergoing treatment is very similar to having an x-ray. The treatment delivery is not painful.
During your treatment, your radiation therapist will be in continual contact with you, and will always be able to see you through closed-circuit television. There is also a two-way intercom system so you can communicate with your therapist. If you have any problem, we will turn off the machine immediately and help you. When the machine is turned off, the radiation stops immediately.
Normally, treatments are given daily, Monday through Friday, with a rest on weekends. Your therapist will notify you of any holidays that you will not receive treatment. We will try our best to make your daily appointments convenient for you. If you find it necessary to change your treatment time, please ask your therapist.
How often will I see my doctor?
Typically, you will meet with Dr. Studt every Tuesday during your treatment course to discuss your progress. However, he is available any day if you have concerns you need to discuss. If a family member would like to speak with Dr. Studt about your treatment, they should plan to come with you during your scheduled time on Tuesdays.
What about side effects during treatment?
There are some side effects from radiation therapy. They generally happen to the skin and tissues in the treatment area. Dr. Studt will discuss specific side effects with you when you begin treatment.
One side effect of radiation therapy is that it may cause you to feel fatigued. If you become fatigued, make sure you are able to rest adequately. Fatigue is common after chemotherapy or radiation therapy and may persist over a period of weeks to several months.
If your side effects are bothering you, or you are experiencing problems you did not expect, please tell any member of your radiation therapy team.
A common misconception is that radiation therapy makes you radioactive. This is not true if you are receiving your radiotherapy from a machine. If you receive brachytherapy and are hospitalized for insertion of cesium or radioactive sources, you will be kept in a protected room until the sources are removed or no longer pose any hazard to family or friends.
Who should I contact if I have a bad reaction or extreme discomfort?
If you notice anything abnormal, it is very important that you contact us. We encourage you to contact us during normal business hours; however, we are always available. If you have an extreme reaction or think you need immediate medical help, please go to the nearest emergency room.
Do I need to limit my activities during treatment?
We encourage you to carry out your daily activities as much as possible, as long as you do not feel stressed or too fatigued. Many patients continue to work without experiencing adverse effects. Remember to balance your daily activities with adequate rest. Dr. Studt will tell you if you should limit any activity.
What if I miss a treatment?
You will be scheduled for a certain number of treatments based on your specific disease. It is extremely important that you receive all of your prescribed treatments. Therefore, if you miss a day, it must be made up and your last day of treatment will be extended. We encourage you to limit breaks in your treatment unless a break is suggested by Dr. Studt.
Some patients receive radiation and chemotherapy at the same time. If I do, where will I receive my chemotherapy?
In most cases, your chemotherapy will be given in your medical oncologist’s office or at a local hospital.
Will you notify me if my appointment is canceled (due to bad weather, etc.)?
Yes. Please be sure to update your contact info should anything change. Also, watch for San Angelo ISD closures due to weather. If SAISD is closed due to weather, RCTC will be closed as well. We encourage you to only travel if you feel safe with driving conditions.
After Your Treatment
After I complete treatment, will that be the last time I visit the cancer center?
No. Approximately three to six weeks after your last treatment, you will return for a follow-up appointment. Thereafter, you will return as needed for office visits. At these appointments, Dr. Studt will perform a physical exam and may order scans or other tests, if needed.
What do I need to know about follow-up care?
Patients who have completed radiation therapy need to continue, at least for a short while, some of the special care used during treatment.
If you experienced skin irritation during treatment, this could persist for several weeks after treatment is completed. You should continue to be gentle with the skin in the treatment area until it has healed. We recommend using Jean’s Cream for local skin irritation.
If you followed a special diet during your treatment for nausea or diarrhea, you may need to continue the diet for a time after the treatments have stopped.
If you need any special instructions, Dr. Studt will tell you when you finish your treatment course.
What should I watch for after my treatment is complete?
After treatment, you may notice skin changes in the treatment area. Feel free to contact us as concerns arise. If you have any of the problems listed below, contact us right away:
- A pain that persists, especially if it is always in the same place
- Persistent lumps, bumps or unusual swelling
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Persistent fever or cough
- Unusual rashes, bleeding or bruising