Receiving a diagnosis of brain or spine cancer can be a stressful time for you and your family. It’s not easy to manage treatment along with your job, relationships, and other life priorities. At the Stanford Cancer Center, we’re here to help.
Radiation therapy can destroy or prevent the spread of cancer. Radiation cancer doctors target cancer cells and try to avoid damaging nearby healthy cells.
Every cancer is different, even in the early stages. The best treatment for one person might not be the best treatment for another.
For your treatment plan, please keep in mind that:
- It may involve one or more of the 3 main types of treatment: radiation therapy, surgery, and systemic therapy (medications that travel through the bloodstream to attack cancer anywhere in the body).
- Your doctors may prescribe a treatment plan that combines certain treatments.
The combination of treatment types may need to take place in a specific order to best treat your specific condition.
Your health care team will work with you to develop a treatment plan. If that includes radiation therapy, the team will talk to you about your treatment goals and options.
What to expect: First visit (consultation)
The first appointment with your cancer doctor is an opportunity for you to share any concerns and to ask any questions.
In your first visit, you will:
- Discuss treatment options, including whether or not radiation treatment is recommended for you.
- Discuss the type, number of treatments, and potential side effects of radiation treatment, if recommended.
- Bring any paperwork and imaging done outside Stanford for your doctor to review.
- Be offered your next appointment for a simulation (a scan, in treatment position) of your radiation treatment, if appropriate.
Your first visit also is an important opportunity to tell the doctor and care team about your past medical history and all of the medicines you take – even occasionally.
Some prescriptions, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies can affect how your body responds to radiation therapy. It is important to tell your doctor about all of them.
We can help you get started with a checklist of what to expect and what to prepare.
Published April 2018
Stanford Health Care © 2018