It is the goal of the Robert Boissoneault Oncology Institute to ensure your experiences here are as comfortable and convenient as possible.
The following information has been compiled to allow quick and easy reference regarding cancer patient care.
Treatments are usually given Monday through Friday. An estimate of the number of treatments required will be given during your initial visit. Sometimes, your doctor makes adjustments in the treatment plan, so you may have a few more or a few less treatments. Also, your doctor may order more tests or procedures in order to better manage your treatments. We will let you know in advance if any additional time is needed.
Appointment times will be arranged with the therapist who will be treating you. We will try to give you the appointment time you request whenever possible. Your appointment can be changed if a preferred time becomes available.
Plan to be at the Center about 30 minutes each day. To prevent long waits please do not arrive more than 15 minutes early. You will be in the treatment room for about 15 minutes. The treatment itself only takes a few minutes.
On occasion, you may find yourself waiting because of unavoidable delays during the day. For this, we offer our apologies in advance. We will always get you into the treatment room as quickly as possible.
Seeing the Doctor
You will be seen by one of the Physicians at least once a week during your course of treatment. On these days, you should plan to be at the Center longer than thirty minutes. This visit will usually be with your primary doctor. Because the doctors at the Center are in a group practice, each doctor is kept informed of your progress or any problems you may have.
If you do see another doctor for your weekly visit, please do not hesitate to ask any questions or discuss concerns with him/her.
Cancer Patient Care Advocates:
Nurses are on site every day to answer your questions and to act as a liaison between you and your physician.
Licensed Clinical Social Workers:
Dealing with cancer can often be overwhelming for the patient and their family. Our Licensed Clinical Social Workers can help you cope with and manage the normal emotion responses that often accompany any illness. A Licensed Clinical Social Workers is available throughout your visit and is also available for scheduled appointments. Assistance is also provided for practical needs such as transportation, community resources, education opportunities and cancer support groups.
The purpose of this information is to prepare you for skin changes you may see from your radiation treatments and how to care for the skin in the area of treatment:
When radiation is given, the beam passes through the skin. After a few weeks of treatment, you may notice some skin changes or reactions. This is only in the area being treated. The most common reactions are listed below. These usually occur in the order listed. Remember, your skin mayor may not show any of these reactions.
- Redness, irritation
- Dryness, scaling, itching
- Moistness, weeping
- Darkening of the skin
Again, these reactions occur only in the area of treatment and most should clear up within a few weeks of the last treatment. Please feel free to talk with your radiation oncologist or nurse if you have questions or concerns about your skin and how to care for it.
Skin Care Measures During Radiation Treatments:
- Keep your skin clean and dry.
- Wash the skin in the treatment area with mild soap and warm water using your fingertips. Rinse well and pat the skin dry. Basis, Neutrogena, or Cetaphil are mild soaps suggested.
- Use gentle detergents such as Dreft or Ivory Snow to wash the clothes you wear next to the skin in the treatment area.
- If your scalp is in the treated area, use a mild shampoo. Johnson’s Baby Shampoo is suggested.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing made of soft fabric over the area of treatment.
- Wear clothing to protect skin in the treatment area from sun exposure. A high-collared shirt or wide-brimmed hat may be helpful in protecting the face, head and neck area.
- If bandages or dressings need to be applied to the area being treated, use only paper tape. The nurse is available to help you as needed.
- If the face, neck or underarm is being treated, use only an electric razor to shave.
- If prescribed ointment is given to you, apply in a thin layer over affected area and never apply directly before your radiation treatment.
- Using a wash cloth over your skin markings.
- Rubbing or scratching the skin in the treatment area.
- Avoid using anything on the skin in the treatment area unless prescribed by your radiation oncologist. This includes lotions, creams, powders, ointments, perfumes, after-shave, deodorant, make-up and/or medications.
- Extreme temperature on the skin. This includes hot water bottles, heating pads and ice packs.
- Direct sun exposure in the treatment area.
- Swimming in salt water or heavily chlorinated pools during the course of treatments.
- If prescription medication is given for skin care, avoid applying before your treatment or in a thick coating over your skin.
Completion of treatments
- If ordered, use the prescribed ointment given to you once or twice a day over the area that was treated as needed until the skin reaction has cleared.
- Continue to be gentle with your skin. You may need to continue using a mild soap until the skin reaction has cleared. You should let your markings wear off gradually.
- The skin in the treatment area will always remain more sensitive than the rest of your skin. Try to protect your skin from any injury and avoid direct sun exposure. Use a sun screen with factor 15 or greater.
- Side effects present at the end of your treatments will usually improve within a few weeks after the last treatment.
- If you have been on a special diet for control of the side effects from radiation, continue with the diet until the side effects resolve.
- It is important to eat well balanced meals even though your treatments are finished. This will help speed the healing process.
- Fatigue and weakness may continue several weeks after your treatments are completed. Make sure you get plenty of rest. Continue with your usual daily activities if you are able. Plan your activities according to the way you feel.
- Maintain regular medical check-ups.