After the simulation process has been completed, your radiation oncologist will work closely with a medical physicist and dosimetrist to develop your treatment plan. Using sophisticated software, they will perform the technical calculations necessary for use by the linear accelerator, the machine used to deliver the radiation.
When the actual treatments begin, you will be positioned on the treatment table. A series of x-ray films will be taken to be compared to those from the simulation to make sure the radiation will be delivered to the exact area as planned. If adjustments need to be made, they will be checked by the radiation oncologist. Occasionally more adjustments may be necessary which could delay the start of treatment. Once all positioning is confirmed it is approved by your radiation oncologist.
At each visit, you will be placed on the treatment table in the same position. Radiation technicians use your tattoos, an immobilization device if needed, and laser beams to ensure you are in the exact position as the simulation. During the actual treatment, you will be in the room by yourself, but will be visible on computer screens in the control room, and you’ll also be able to communicate via a microphone. The table and linear accelerator may move so that the radiation beams are in the correct location. When your radiation oncologist confirms that the position is correct, the treatment will be given. Usually, the radiation treatment takes 10 minutes or less and is not painful. In fact, you won’t feel anything.