Navigating your care
- Scheduling Your Consultation Appointment
- First Visit – Consultation
- Simulation and Treatment Planning
- Patient’s Responsibilities
- Treatment Instructions
- Side Effects
- After Treatment Follow Up
Scheduling Your Consultation Appointment
Whether you are a patient making your own appointment, requesting a second opinion, or you are a physician making a patient referral, you can start the registration process simply by telephoning your nearest clinic.
When you first visit one of our centers, you will register with that hospital as an outpatient. Please bring your insurance cards with you for your appointments. You may also need authorizations if required by your insurance plan. This registration process can take 15-30 minutes, so please arrive early for your appointment.
If you are considering radiation therapy, you must first schedule a visit with a radiation oncologist to see if radiation therapy is right for you. During your initial visit, the doctor will evaluate your need for radiation therapy and its likely results. This includes reviewing your current medical problems, past medical history, past surgical history, family history, medications, allergies and lifestyle. The doctor will also perform a physical examination to assess the extent of your disease and judge your general physical condition. Depending on where your radiation oncologist practices, you may also be seen by a medical student, a resident (radiation oncologist in training), a nurse practitioner, or a nurse.
After reviewing your medical tests, including CT scans, MR scans and positron emission tomography scans (PET scans) and completing a thorough examination, your radiation oncologist will fully discuss with you the potential benefits and risks of radiation therapy and answer your questions.
To be most effective, radiation therapy must be aimed precisely at the same target or targets each and every time treatment is given. The process of measuring your anatomy and marking your skin to help your team direct the beams of radiation safely and exactly to their intended locations is called simulation. During simulation, your radiation oncologist and radiation therapist place you on the simulation machine in the exact position you will be in during the actual treatment. Your radiation therapist, under your doctor’s supervision, then marks the area to be treated directly on your skin or on immobilization devices.
After simulation, your radiation oncologist and other members of the treatment team review the information they obtained during simulation along with your previous medical tests to develop a treatment plan. Often, a special treatment planning CT scan is done to help with the simulation and treatment planning. This CT scan is in addition to your diagnostic CT scan. Frequently, sophisticated treatment-planning computer software is used to help design the best possible treatment plan. After reviewing all of this information, your doctor writes a prescription that outlines the exact course of your radiation therapy treatment.
Daily Treatment Schedule. On your day of simulation, you will be given a time to come for daily treatment for several weeks. Please arrive a few minutes before your scheduled time, as there are normally patients treated before and after you. In the occasional chance that you may be late or unable to come, please call us and we will do our best to accommodate you. A short wait before your treatment is not unusual. We ask that you reserve an hour a day, but the usual total treatment and preparation time is less than thirty minutes.
Clothing and Marks. Since treatment delivery often will require the removal of your clothes to uncover the area being treated, wear loose fitting clothing that is easy to remove. The marks placed on your skin are critical to target the tumor must be maintained throughout the treatment course. Do not rub off the marks. You may shower and expose the treated area, but do not rub the area with soap or a towel. Instead, “pat dry” the area gently. Also, wear older clothes, as marks may rub off onto your clothing.
Transportation. If you currently drive, you should be able to drive yourself to and from the treatment center daily. If you have a medical problem that limits your ability to drive, the physician may advise you not to drive. If you are unable to find anyone to drive you, the hospital may provide assistance.
When you undergo external beam radiation therapy treatment, each session is painless, like getting an X-ray. The radiation is directed to your tumor from a machine located outside of your body. One of the benefits of radiation therapy is that it is usually given as a series of outpatient treatments and you may not need to miss work or experience the type of recuperation period that can follow other treatments. These treatments are usually five days a week, everyday but Saturday and Sunday, and continue for many weeks. Sometimes, only one or a few treatments are required, such as for the treatment of cancer that has spread to the bone. A radiation therapist will administer your external beam treatment following your radiation oncologist’s instructions. It will take roughly five to 15 minutes for you to be positioned for treatment and for the equipment to be set up. Once you are positioned correctly, the therapist will leave the room and go into an adjoining control room to closely monitor you on a television screen while administering the radiation. There is a microphone in the treatment room so you can always talk with the therapist if you have any concerns. The machine can be stopped at any time if you are feeling ill or uncomfortable. The radiation therapy machine may be moved by the radiation therapist to target the radiation beam to the exact area of the tumor. The machine might make noises during treatment that sound like clicking or whirring. These noises are nothing to be afraid of, and the radiation therapist is in complete control of the machine at all times.
Weekly Visits with a Radiation Oncologist
During radiation therapy, your radiation oncologist and nurse will see you regularly to follow your progress, evaluate whether you are having any side effects and address any concerns you may have. If you are having a problem there is no need to wait until your weekly Doctor visit. The doctors and nurses will usually be able to help take care of the problem right away.
Daily and Weekly Imaging
During treatment, your treatment team will routinely use the treatment machines to take special X-rays called beam or port films or quick CT scans done on the treatment table. Your treatment team routinely reviews these films to be sure that the treatment beams remain precisely aimed at the proper target. These images are generally not used to evaluate your tumor.
Patients often have few side effects from the radiation therapy and are able to continue their normal routines. However, some patients do feel some discomfort from the treatment. Be sure to talk to a member of your radiation oncology treatment team about any problems you may have. The side effects of radiation therapy are related to the area being treated. For example, a patient with breast cancer may have skin irritation, but a patient with lung cancer may have soreness with swallowing. These side effects are usually temporary and can be treated by your doctor and improve soon after finishing treatment. We always encourage you to talk with your doctor or nurse about side effects so they can give you information about how to manage them and may prescribe medicines that can help improve your symptoms.
After treatment is completed, follow-up appointments will be scheduled so that your doctor can make sure you are recovering normally and can continue to monitor your health status. Other tests may be ordered for these visits and reports will be sent to your other doctors. Your radiation oncologist may decrease the frequency of visits over time, but you are always welcome to call or come in for questions or concerns.
Alexian Brothers Medical Center and St Alexius Medical Center:
|Ruth Todd, RN, BSN, CMS, CBPN-IC
Breast Health Navigator, Certified MammaCare Specialist
Manager, MammaCare Training Center
Alexian Brothers Cancer Institute
800 Biesterfield Rd., Suite 120
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
|Kathleen Baronello RN, CBPN-IC
Breast Cancer Coordinator
Certified Breast Cancer Nurse Navigator
|Jane Cosentino RN BSN OCN
Thoracic Oncology Nurse NavigatorThe Cancer Institute at Alexian Brothers Health System
St. Alexius Medical Center Alexian Brothers Medical Center
1555 Barrington Rd. 800 Biesterfield Rd.
Hoffman Estates, IL 60069 Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
Ph: 847-755-8604 Ph: 847-952-7205
|Tinamarie Bauman, RN, MSN, APNG
Assistant Director Breast & High Risk Genetics Program
Alexian Brothers Hospital Network
Central DuPage Hospital:
|Marianne Huml RN
Phone No: 630-352-5406
Nurse Navigator for Multidisciplinary clinic Neuro-oncology & Lung Cancer
|Patricia Meilinger RN
Phone No: 630-933-1779
Thoracic oncology (surgery only).
Illinois Gamma Knife Center
|Karen Mnichowicz, R.N., Nurse Manager
CDH Proton Center, A ProCure Center:
|The Intake staff at the Procure Proton Therapy Center is available to answer questions or discuss concerns you may have.To request a consultation at the Procure Proton Therapy Center please follow the link to our website and select the request for consultation tab located on the top right of the screen. http://www.procure.com/OurLocations/Illinois/ExploretheCenter.aspxYou are also invited to call any one of the phone numbers listed below.|
|ProCure Proton Therapy Center
Intake Nursing Department
4455 Weaver Parkway
Warrenville, Il 60555
Toll Free 877-887-5807
Secure fax 888-543-6118
Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital:
Advocate Lutheran General Hospital:
Phone No: 847-723-3303
|Carol Dallmeyer BS RN|
|Laura Shelley BS RN|
|Margaret Fischer BS RN|
|Tina Beyer BS RN|
Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center:
|Angela Bradford, BSN, OCNC, RN, RN-BC
Phone No: 773-296-7588
Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital:
|Sheila Erasmus, RN, BSN, OCN
Oncology Nurse Navigator
Phone No: 630-275-2381
Presence Resurrection Medical Center:
|Jane Heinichen, RN.773-792-5133|
Chicago Prostate Cancer Center
|Joan McSweeney, RN.630.366.7862|
Illinois CyberKnife Center at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital
|Linda Green, BS, RN.847-723-5943|