Coordinating your care
The care given at Batavia Radiation Oncology Associates is a team effort that is coordinated by the staff in close collaboration with primary care physicians, surgeons, and other medical specialists. The first visit begins with an interview with the radiation oncology nurse followed directly by a consultation (usually one to two hours) with the radiation oncologist (a physician specializing in the evaluation and treatment of tumors). The radiation oncologist reviews the health records and performs a physical examination. Findings and recommendations are then discussed with the patient and the referring physician. If the schedule allows, the patient meets with the radiation therapist, a highly trained and specialized technologist who assists the physician with simulation and treatment. In simulation, the physician and the therapist precisely outline the treatment area and take x-rays, which may also include CT scans. The therapist makes marks on the skin to indicate exactly where the radiation is to be directed. These marks, as well as other aids, (e.g. masks or immobilizing devices) assure that treatment is delivered with the greatest accuracy and safety.Using the information from the simulation procedures, the radiation therapy physicist and dosimetrist then develop a treatment plan. If necessary additional imaging (ultrasound, MRI, CT, etc.) will be scheduled to enhance this process. Using 3-dimensional computer modeling, the physicians and physicists design a plan that the therapists use to direct the radiation for maximum effect upon the normal tissue surrounding the tumor. The therapist may also make shields or blocks to further shape the radiation beam to conform to the shape of the tumor. Before therapy begins the patient undergoes an additional simulation on the linear accelerator to confirm positioning. The actual number of treatments that are prescribed will depend on the size, type, and location of the cancer, the general health of the patient, and any other treatments that may have been given or are ongoing.