March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month! Getting a cancer diagnosis is scary so we’ve outlined a few details to help you understand the role that radiation therapy plays in the treatment of colorectal cancers and a little more information about what treatment at AVRTC is like.
Treating colorectal cancers
Our family of providers is armed with the knowledge and most advanced cancer treatment technology to help you navigate your care. The main curative treatment for colorectal cancers is surgery. This is oftentimes used in conjunction with chemotherapy and external beam radiation therapy, which we administer using our linear accelerators. Radiation helps to shrink your tumor before surgery or to reduce the chance of your cancer coming back. Depending on your specific needs, your cancer treatment may involve one or a combination of these treatment methods. Your physicians can help determine the best approach for you.
Your radiation treatment at AVRTC
When you walk through our doors, you’re family. Before your treatment begins, our physicians will work closely with you and the rest of your treatment team to create the best plan for you.
While we get to know each other, you will undergo a scanning session, during which we will perform a computed tomography (CT scan) to provide a precise image of the treatment area. Using this image and sophisticated computer software, a medical physicist and our dosimetry team will work with your radiation oncologist to develop a plan specific to you and your treatment goals.
Just like a family, we’ll be here for you on your best and worst days. Treatments are typically given daily for 15 to 20 minutes over several weeks. Our team of radiation therapists will guide you through every session as a linear accelerator delivers a prescribed dose of radiation precisely to your treatment area. We encourage you to ask your team questions along the way.
We’ll still be here for you when your treatment is over. The entire AVRTC family looks forward to following your health progress and your life after treatment! While your doctor will recommend follow up appointments at specific intervals, we encourage you to call at any time if you have questions or concerns.
Taking care of yourself
It is important to care for yourself as best you can during treatment. A balanced diet, mild amount of physical activity, and taking time to rest are all important parts of your cancer treatment.
During and even after you complete treatment, you may experience expected side-effects. We will support and arm you with the necessary tools to handle them. It is important that you keep us informed as you notice any changes throughout the process.
Seek help from support groups, family, and friends. Surrounding yourself with people you can count on will make it easier to get through side effects after treatment. If you need additional support, let your treatment team know so we can connect you with resources available within the community, some of which are offered at no charge to patients through our facilities.
Our survivorship team will help you navigate the late effects of treatment as well as quality of life and psychosocial issues once you’ve completed your treatment. During and after treatment, our Healing Chair Yoga instructor leads weekly classes that are gentle and designed for the unique needs of those undergoing cancer treatment. Finally, our registered dietitian will work with you and make recommendations specific to your individual needs.
Your first visit
We welcome every new patient with open arms. We know your first visit can be overwhelming, so here are a few ways to prepare.
Save time: Visit our website to download and complete your patient forms ahead of time in order to streamline the check in process. Please bring your insurance cards, photo ID, and all of your medication bottles with you.
Ask questions: Write down everything, that you want to ask your doctor. We will take the time to explain anything you don’t understand and make sure you know what to expect during and after treatment. We encourage patients to call the clinic if they think of any additional questions after their consultation with our physicians.
Bring a loved one: It will help you feel more comfortable, and having a second set of ears will help you remember and understand anything that isn’t clear.
About your radiation therapy family
Our team of highly-trained professionals will work alongside you every step of the way as they plan and deliver the treatment plan that is custom designed for your individual needs.
For more information about the care you will receive as part of the AVRTC family, follow our Facebook page.