Your initial consultation
Radiation Oncology patients are typically referred to us by their surgeon,
primary care doctor, urologist, OBGYN, medical oncologist, or other treating
physician. To get started, simply call us directly or ask your doctor
to give us a call to set up your initial consultation. Our phone number
During this consultation, you will meet your team and discuss your specific
type of cancer, the most effective types of radiation therapy used to
treat it, the results you might expect from your cancer treatment, and
what will happen to you physically as you go through treatment. After
you give us permission, we can also obtain copies of all the necessary
health records from your other doctors. By the time your initial consultation
is over, you will be well informed about your treatment and why the radiation
therapy recommended is the right choice for your particular situation.
You will not receive a radiation treatment at your initial consultation.
Preparing for your consultation
Ask a friend or family member to come with you. He or she can help you
prepare for your treatments, remember instructions and be there for you
with emotional and practical support
Have your medical records and imaging from your regular doctor or oncologist
(or ask that they be sent to us beforehand)
Do not forget your insurance card and any referral forms your insurance
provider may require, as well as any co-pays. Feel free to call our office
before you come at 626-915-6280. A member of our staff will figure out
what you need to bring and can help you with any insurance or referral
Bring questions! In the days before your consultation, write down any that
come to mind.
Sample questions to ask
How is the radiation therapy administered?
How will I feel during cancer treatment?
What are the side effects from my particular form of radiation therapy?
What should I eat while undergoing therapy? Are there any foods I should
stay away from?
What will my insurance cover? Is financial support available?
Should I continue my current medications?
How will my cancer treatment affect my other health conditions?
Will I be able to drive myself to my treatments?
CT Simulation Appointment
If it is determined that you will start radiation therapy, there are many
steps in preparation for your start date. For most types of treatment,
a simulation appointment will be scheduled. The purpose of this visit
is to outline or map the exact area to be treated. A CT scan will be taken
to verify the anatomy and assure accuracy. If needed, immobilization devices
such as a face mask or a leg mold will be made at this time. Your skin
will be marked with to ensure that the precise area is treated each time.
After simulation, you’ll have a few days to a few weeks to relax
while your radiation oncologist creates a unique plan of treatment taking
into account your diagnosis, the type of radiation machine that will be
used, the amount of radiation needed and the number of treatments to be given
The number of treatments prescribed will vary depending on your specific
cancer type and its location. Your experience will be completely different
from that of other patients and may differ from previous radiation treatment
you may have had.
There are many different radiation therapy options, and the radiation oncologist
will discuss with you the most appropriate plan. A full course of therapy
may take several weeks, while other treatments may be one day or just
a few days.
Treatments are given Monday – Friday for the number of visits determined
during planning. Typically your treatment is scheduled for the same time
each day. A licensed radiation therapist will administer your treatment.
The most common early side effects of radiation therapy are fatigue and
skin changes. They can result from radiation to any treatment site. Other
side effects are related to treatment of specific areas. For example,
temporary or permanent hair loss may be a side effect of radiation treatment
to the head. Appetite can be altered if treatment affects the mouth, stomach
Fortunately, most side effects will go away in time. In the meantime, there
are ways to reduce discomfort. If you have a side effect that is significant,
the doctor may prescribe a change in your treatments or even give you
a temporary break.