Many people help with your radiation treatment and care. This group of health care providers is often called the “radiation therapy team.” They work together to provide care that is just right for you. Your radiation therapy team can include:
- Radiation oncologist. This is a doctor who specializes in using radiation therapy to treat cancer. He or she prescribes how much radiation you will receive, plans how your treatment will be given, closely follows you during your course of treatment, and prescribes care you may need to help with side effects. He or she works closely with the other doctors, nurses, and health care providers on your team. After you are finished with radiation therapy, your radiation oncologist will see you for follow-up visits. During these visits, this doctor will check for late side effects and assess how well the radiation has worked.
- Nurse practitioner. This is a nurse with advanced training. He or she can take your medical history, do physical exams, order tests, manage side effects, and closely watch your response to treatment. After you are finished with radiation therapy, your nurse practitioner may see you for follow-up visits to check for late side effects and assess how well the radiation has worked.
- Radiation nurse. This person provides nursing care during radiation therapy, working with all the members of your radiation therapy team. He or she will talk with you about your radiation treatment and help you manage side effects.
- Radiation therapist. This person works with you during each radiation therapy session. He or she positions you for treatment and runs the machines to make sure you get the dose of radiation prescribed by your radiation oncologist.
- Other health care providers. Your team may also include a dietitian, physical therapist, social worker, and others.
- You. You are also part of the radiation therapy team. Your role is to:
- Arrive on time for all radiation therapy sessions
- Ask questions and talk about your concerns
- Let someone on your radiation therapy team know when you have side effects
- Tell your doctor or nurse if you are in pain
- Follow the advice of your doctors and nurses about how to care for yourself at home, such as:
- Taking care of your skin
- Drinking liquids
- Eating foods that they suggest
- Keeping your weight the same
You are the most important part of the radiation therapy team. Be sure to arrive on time for ALL radiation therapy sessions.