Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) Treatment Process
IMRT is delivered or given by a machine called a linear accelerator. The machine directs high-energy x-rays at the cancer and some normal surrounding tissue from outside the body. Patients receive IMRT during outpatient visits to a hospital or treatment center. IMRT involves a series of daily treatments to target and accurately deliver radiation to the prostate.
Who Gives Radiation Treatments?
Radiation Oncologist: A doctor specially trained to treat cancer patients with radiation. He or she makes the decisions about your treatment plan and leads the team of medical professionals in the cancer center.
Medical Physicist: An individual with an advanced degree (Masters or PhD) in physics. The medical physicist ensures the treatment plan prescribed by the radiation oncologist is prepared properly, to deliver the appropriate dose of radiation. Additional the medical physicist is responsible for the safety of the radiation equipment, ensuring that it is working properly.
Dosimetrist: Takes the prescription for treatment written by the radiation oncologist and through the use of physics, creates a computerized treatment plan that will run the radiation equipment.
Radiation Therapist: Operates the radiation equipment and positions you for treatment.
What happens during/after my initial meeting with the cancer doctor?
How Does Your Doctor Plan your Radiation Therapy Treatment?
Avoid using soap or scrubbing these marks. Sometimes the area will be marked with permanent dots like a tattoo.
By using the information from the simulation, other tests, and your medical background, your doctor will decide how much radiation is needed, how it will be given, and how many treatments you should have.
What is Implantable Fiducial Marker Placement?
Instructions for the Placement of Trans-rectal Ultrasound Guided Fiducial Markers with or without SpaceOar
- There are no dietary restrictions.
- Discontinue any medication that may thin your blood 1 full week prior to your procedure. These medications include: Aspirin, Coumadin, Warfarin, Plavix, Ibuprofen (Motrin), Naproxen (Aleve), Lodine, Toraol, Celebrex, Fish Oil, Vitamin E, etc.
- You MUST have a driver to and from your procedure.
- You will take an antibiotic beginning the day prior to your procedure, and continue said medication the following 3 days as prescribed. Typical preprocedure antibiotics are Levaquin or Cipro. Please call the office if you have not received a prescription for this medication of if you have questions about the dosing schedule.
- An enema MUST be used approximately 1.5 hours prior to your procedure. This product (Fleets Enema) is available at most drug stores and/or pharmacies. Simply followthe directions on the label.
After your procedure:
- You may experience blood in the urine and/or stool for a few days.
- Visible blood in the ejaculatory fluid is not uncommon.
- You should refrain from heavy lifting the day of your procedure. Otherwise, there are no restrictions.
- Please call the office, 815-409-4930, if you develop a fever (temperature >100.3), difficult urination, or upon heavy bleeding from the rectum, with a bowel movement, or in the urine.
Instructions for your Radiation Treatment Planning Session and Daily Treatments For CT Simulation
- Eat light twelve hours prior to your procedure. You may have clear liquids such as soup, juice, jello, etc.
- An enema MUST be completed 2 hours prior to the CT. This product (Fleets Enema) is available at most drug stores and or pharmacies. Simply follow the directions on the label.
- Drink 3 cups of water (24 oz) 45-60 minutes prior to your appointment. Try not to urinate until after procedure is completed.
After your procedure:
Once the CT simulation is complete, you will meet with a therapist to discuss when your next appointment will be and when you treatments will begin. This appointment is set up approximately 7-10 days following your CT simulation. You will be given instructions from the therapist at that time on how to prepare for your daily treatments.
Should you have any questions or concerns between these appointments, please contact the Prostate Cancer Center at 815-409-4957.
What Happens During Each Treatment Visit?
A rectal balloon is placed into the rectum to protect rectal tissue by reducing motion, removing rectal gas, and to provide a more reproducible set up throughout the course of radiation treatment. Insertion takes a few minutes by the radiation therapist. After insertion, the balloon is inflated to the prescribed amount. Most patients describe this as a light pressure sensation. After radiation, the balloon is removed and will be inserted with each radiation treatment.
Depending on the treatment area, you may need to undress, so wear clothes that are easy to take on and off. You will lie on a treatment table positioned under the radiation machine. You will be asked to remain still during the treatment. You do not have to hold your breath- just breathe normally.
Once you are in the correct position, the radiation therapist will go into a nearby room to turn on the machine and watch you on a TV monitor. You will be able to talk with the therapist over an intercom.
The radiation therapy machine will make clicking and whirring noises and sometimes sound like a vacuum cleaner as it moves to aim at the treatment area from different angles. The radiation therapist controls the movement and checks to be sure it is working properly. If you are concerned about anything that happens in the treatment room, ask your therapist to explain. If you feel ill or uncomfortable during the treatment, tell your therapist at once. The machine can be stopped at any time.
Hormone/Androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT)
Learn More about ADT
How Long Does the Treatment Take?
- The size and location of your cancer
- The type of cancer
- Your general health
- Any other treatments you are receiving
Instructions For Daily Treatment
Please try to have a Bowel Movement prior to arriving for your treatment.
We prefer to have the rectum clear of any gas or stool fortreatment whenever possible.
About an hour before treatment, empty your bladder. Because it takes 45-60 minutes to fill your bladder for treatment, you must finish drinking 24oz (3 cups) of water one hour prior to your treatment time.
If you must urinate before you are treated, drink an additional 16 oz of water and notify the therapist
or staff that is was necessary for you to urinate. Before we start your treatment, we will check to be sure you have enough urine in your bladder. It may be necessary to allow some additional time for your bladder to refill. Since everyone is different, you may find you need to increase or decrease your water intake. The therapist or nurse can guide you. Caffeine is irritating to the bladder and will increase your urgency to urinate. Try to wait until after your daily therapy to have caffeine. Caffeine can be found in most soda, tea, coffee, chocolate and energy drinks.
The Staff of the Prostate Cancer Center
Understanding Radiation Therapy Guide for Patients and Families
This booklet has been created to help you understand your disease and how the treatment team at the Prostate Cancer Center collaborates with your urologist in curing your cancer. Additionally, the booklet is designed to answer your questions and those of your loved ones about the treatment of prostate cancer with radiation therapy.