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Simulation and Treatment Planning
If radiation treatment is recommended, the next step is treatment planning in order to develop the safest and most effective personalized treatment plan for your unique cancer.
This planning process is referred to as “simulation” because it simulates the treatment position and allows for acquisition of your unique anatomy to be used for treatment planning, but no radiation treatment is administered at this time.
During simulation, your radiation oncologist and radiation therapists will place you on the CT scanner in the exact position you will be in during the actual treatment. Certain measurements may be taken, and once the correct position is determined the radiation therapist may place permanent ink tattoos on your skin. When needed, these marks ensure that radiation treatment will be accurate and reproducible each day you come to the cancer center.
Sometimes, “immobilization” and “positioning” devices may be required, including molds, casts, headrests or other devices to assist you in remaining appropriately positioned during the treatment.
After your simulation, you will be given an appointment card with the time and date of your first appointment for treatment. If your ideal time isn’t available at the beginning of treatment, we will do our best to ensure that you can switch to that time once it becomes available.
Using all the information from your medical history, previous records and the simulation process, your doctor, a medical dosimetrist and physicist work collaboratively to design your treatment plan.
The time from simulation to start of radiation treatment may vary depending upon plan complexity and appropriateness related to chemotherapy or recovery from surgery. Should you have any questions, please discuss with your treatment team at the time of simulation or contact us at your convenience.