Click to see what you can expect during radiation treatment at our cancer center!
 

Radiation Oncology

Centra Health

Radiation Oncology

An Outpatient Department of Centra Lynchburg General Hospital 

The goal of radiation oncology is to reduce or eliminate the viability of a tumor while allowing the surrounding normal structures to maintain function. This is a delicate balance where we capitalize on the normal structure's ability to repair or resist damage, while the abnormal process does not have the same level of refinement in its support structure. Because the path to a cancerous process generally involves penetration into the body, treatment beams are directed from several directions that converge at the tumor.

The Radiation Oncology department has embarked on a quantum leap in the process of treatment. While the radiation treatment of cancer patients continues to be high-energy x-ray photons and electrons, the control of the treatment process and verification are now controlled digitally. This integration has allowed for more complex treatment plans that benefit our patients. All of this integration greatly increases the complexity of treatment, which necessitates an increase in the already rigorous and comprehensive quality assurance program that is required for our current 3-D conformal therapy.

Digital imaging technologies are being added to better characterize the tumor location and movement during the course of treatment. For the first time, we will be able to monitor the lesion during the actual treatment, rather than before or after. Additional hardware is being added to shape the spatial location of the beam and modulate its intensity across the treatment region. This, along with improved precision in the treatment planning algorithms, allows us to better conform to the target and spare other structures.

We understand this can be a scary and stressful time for you and your loved ones. Visit our new patient welcome page to learn more about what you can expect during your time with the cancer center, and feel free to call us at 434.200.4010 with any questions you may have!

New Patient Welcome

New Patient Paperwork

New Patient Paperwork
New Patient Paperwork

Save time at registration by filling out your paperwork ahead of time and bringing it with you to your first appointment.

Radiation Oncology New Patient Packet

Our Staff

Our Staff
Our Staff

Manager – Kay Rice
Administrative Secretary – Debi Hunt
Lead Radiation Therapist – Margie Carroll
Physics Director – Stephen Terry
Coordinator – Freda Carson

What to Expect

What to Expect
What to Expect

Radiation Therapy Guide

Watch our radiation oncology to receive an overview of what you can expect at your first radiation treatment with us. 

If you or someone you love has recently been diagnosed with cancer and is beginning radiation, we hope this will give you an overview of what the treatment process will look like. We understand this can be a stressful experience, so we are here to help you throughout the entire process to make sure you receive the best care possible, quickly and safely.

Check-In
Starting with your first visit, our team is hard at work following rigorous safety protocols to ensure your treatment plan is accurate. This means there will be times where you are waiting on test results and your treatment to be prepared. We hope you will agree the safety and accuracy of your treatment is worth the wait. Your oncology care team will consist of a radiation oncologist, a nurse practitioner, oncology nurses, medical assistants, dosimetrists, physicists, and radiation therapists.
Radiation Oncology is located on the first floor to the right just past the volunteer desk. When you arrive in the Radiation Oncology Waiting Room, you will be greeted by one of our staff at the Check-In Window.
At each visit, we will ask you to confirm your name, date of birth, phone number, and insurance information. Each time you are scheduled to see a provider, you will be asked to complete a Review of Symptoms and Depression Screening form. This is a safety measure because symptoms can change rapidly and can affect your treatment. For your convenience, some of these forms can be found online for completion ahead of time. Coffee and water are available in the waiting area for you to enjoy before your appointment begins.

Provider Visit
If you are scheduled to see your provider, we will call you back to be weighed, then take you to an exam room where we will review your medication list, take your vital signs, and draw blood for lab work if needed. Please bring your medication list with you to each provider visit. While you are waiting in the exam room, our staff will update your chart for your provider to review prior to your exam. This ensures they have a complete and up-to-date understanding of your status. The length of time spent with your provider varies depending on your individual needs. If you decide to move forward with treatments, the provider will go over the Consent for Radiation Treatments form with you, and the clinic staff will witness you signing the consent form. After signing the consent, the clinic staff will show you the check-in procedure for your Simulation and Treatment appointments. They will also let you know if you need to put on a gown for these appointments.

CT Simulation
You will be given your next appointment at this time, called the CT Simulation appointment, which helps us design your treatment plan.
The day of your CT Simulation appointment, you will check-in to the Changing Room on the computer as previously shown and change into a gown if instructed to do so. Your Simulation Therapist will then take you to the CT Simulation Room where they will explain the procedure and answer any questions you may have. They will then have you lay on the CT Simulator Table in the position needed for your daily treatments.
If an immobilization or position device is needed, it will be constructed at this time. Marks will be drawn on your skin with permanent marker to indicate the area to be treated. Photos will be taken of these marks, the immobilization device, and the position you are laying for documentation purposes. This is necessary to make sure your treatment is accurate and reproducible. A face photo will also be taken and used for identification daily. A CT Scan will be done of the area to be treated with you in this position. Your Provider and one of the Treatment Planning Staff will review the CT Scan to approve it for use in planning your radiation treatments.
Once the scan is approved, in order to ensure the accuracy and precision of your treatments, the therapist will place several small dot sized tattoos on your skin where the marks were previously drawn. The tattoos are dots of ink just under the skin surface done with a dot of ink and a needle. Each of these steps are necessary to make sure your treatment is as effective and is delivered as safely as possible.
After the CT Simulation procedure is complete, you will be escorted back to the Changing Room to change if needed and gather your belongings. The Simulation Therapist will then take you to the clinic area where the clinic staff will provide you with diet and skin care instructions to follow during your radiation treatments. Before you leave, we will schedule a dry run of your treatment called the Check Simulation appointment. Typically, this will be scheduled 7-10 days out to give your team enough time to prepare your plan.

Check Simulation
For the Check Simulation appointment, you will need to check-in to the Changing Room as previously shown and change into a gown if needed. Our Radiation Therapists will escort you to the Treatment Room. At every visit you will be asked your name and Date of Birth and we will inquire about your pain level so that we can assist you in managing pain if needed. You will then lay in the same position as you did for the CT Simulation. The Therapists will adjust your body to align your tattoos to the lasers. Once the procedure begins, you will need to lay as still as possible until the process is complete. Then, the Therapists will take x-ray images and measurements to verify the accuracy of the treatment plan. More marks will be drawn, and photos will be taken of the treatment area. This usually takes 10 to 30 minutes.
Once complete, you can return to the Changing Room to collect your belongings. You will be given your daily treatment appointment schedule at this time. Typically, your first treatment will be within a day or two after this appointment.

Daily Treatment Appointments
When you are coming for your daily treatment appointments, please try to arrive a few minutes prior to your appointment time to allow for checking in and changing into a gown if needed. Most radiation treatments are given every day, Monday-Friday. We attempt to schedule your appointment at the same time every day. We will do our best to accommodate your schedule but cannot guarantee that this can always be done.
For your daily radiation treatments, you will check-in and wait in the Changing Room. If family or friends accompany you to these appointments, they will need to wait in the main front hallway. Your Radiation Therapist will call you back for your treatment via the intercom. You will walk down the hallway to the left to your treatment room. If you need assistance moving from the changing room to treatment area, this will be provided. Generally, radiation treatments appointments take 15-20 minutes. Your provider will let you know if your treatment will take longer.
While under treatment, you will see your provider once a week after one of your treatment appointments. On the day of this visit our staff will remind you to wait in the hallway after your treatment is complete. Each day, once your treatment is complete, you may leave after collecting your belongings from the changing room. At the completion of your course of radiation, you will meet with the nursing team after your final treatment to go over post-treatment instructions. You will also receive a follow-up appointment with your physician or nurse practitioner.

Our goal is to provide you with personal, professional care while making your treatment as effective and easy to understand as possible. If you have questions at any point in your treatment process, please let us know and our staff will be happy to assist you.