Radiation Therapy Patient Experience
Once you have been scheduled for your initial consultation, your case should proceed in the following manner. If you have not yet received your new patient paperwork, it can be found here for you to download and complete.
Please send your completed paperwork to RadOncNewPatient@ucsf.edu or fax to (415) 353-9883. You may also print out the forms and bring them with you to your new patient consultation.
New Patient Consultation
On your first visit, you will check in at the reception desk where a photo (from your shoulders up) will be taken of you for identification. A UCSF faculty physician and a resident physician will consult with you and evaluate your case. They will review your radiology and lab studies, ask you about your medical history, and perform a physical examination. Treatment options and potential side effects will be explained to you and discussed. This appointment may take several hours.
Prior to the start of your radiation treatment, the physician and a radiation therapist will perform treatment simulation. During simulation the therapist will be outlining the exact treatment areas, or fields, and taking CT images of you to assure accuracy. Cradles or casts may be used to ensure that you maintain your exact position during treatment. In most cases, simulation takes place several days after consultation. At this visit you will also receive an identification card with a barcode printed on it. You can use this card to sign in at the reception desk for the duration of your treatment and subsequent radiation oncology appointments.
The actual treatments will start several days after the simulation. The number of treatments and the length of treatment will vary depending on your case. The full course of treatment may take several weeks. It is very important that you receive all of the treatments that your physician prescribes, even if you are feeling better. The area to be treated will be carefully outlined and no other part of your body will be treated with radiation. You will not become radioactive. We encourage you to continue your usual daily activities. When you receive your treatments, you will not be able to see or feel the radiation beam and there is no pain involved in the actual delivery of treatment. During treatment, you will be alone in the treatment room for several minutes; however, a television camera and an intercom system will allow the therapists to see you and communicate with you.
Appointments for treatment are available throughout the day, Monday through Friday. You will be able to schedule your appointments with the treatment therapist. If you must be late or miss an appointment, please contact your physician’s Clinical Support Administrative Assistant whose contact information will be provided to you at your initial consultation. When you notify us in advance, we can accommodate other patients. You should allow 30-45 minutes for each treatment. When you arrive for your appointment, we will try to keep your wait time to a minimum. Occasionally, however, there may be unforeseen delays. Your patience and understanding are appreciated.
After your course of radiation treatment is completed, you will be scheduled for follow-up appointments and any subsequent radiology examinations that your physician may request. It is very important that you keep these appointments. Your follow up appointments will be scheduled by the administrative staff at the reception area upon completion of your treatment, or you will be contacted by your physician’s Clinical Support Administrative Assistant for scheduling.
Night and Weekend Problems
A physician is always available on call to help you at night or on weekends. If you have an urgent problem after hours, call 415 353-8900; the operator will be able to contact a UCSF on-call physician. In case of emergency, call 911. When you get to the hospital emergency room, be sure to let the emergency room staff know that you are currently receiving radiation at UCSF.
Visit http://www.ucsfhealth.org for more information.