What to Expect with Radiation Therapy

Your diagnosis has probably turned your life upside down. Fear, uncertainty, and other such emotions are common in people who have cancer. “Will I be able to work? How long will treatment take? How am I going to find the time to enjoy my life? Will I be able to enjoy my life?”

Questions like these, and many more, cross cancer patients’ and their family members minds. At RCK, we hope to put your mind at ease, answer all your questions, and provide you with an understanding of what your treatment journey will look like.

For frequently asked questions, please see our FAQ page.

Step 1: Diagnosis

The first step in your journey was getting your diagnosis and a referral to an oncologist (either medical or radiation). During your visit, you most likely were told more about your tumor and about the treatments available for it, of which radiation treatment was recommended.

Step 2: Choose a treatment facility

Now that you know radiation therapy is going to be a part of your life, the second step is to select a radiation treatment center. Maybe you’ve already chosen to work with Radiotherapy Centers of Kentuckiana (RCK), or maybe you’re still considering your options.

If you’re still thinking about which facility to choose, consider this: your life will be much easier and less stressful if you don’t have to drive a long distance, five days a week for several weeks, to go to a hospital or academic medical center for your treatment. At RCK, we offer advanced treatment technology and highly experienced radiation oncologists, right here in your community. In addition, at RCK we have convenient parking in our own dedicated parking lot, making us easy to locate and safely enter. We have been providing high-quality, patient-centered oncology care for more than 20 years. Between them, our three radiation oncologists have more than 80 years of experience.

Step 3: Set up your first appointment

Whether you’ve been referred for external beam radiation therapy, SBRT, or for radiopharmaceutical treatment with Xofigo or Pluvicto, your first step will be to contact RCK to set up your first appointment.

You can call our Jeffersonville center at 812.285.6000 or our Louisville center at 502.409.9701. We’re open from 7:30am to 4pm, Monday through Friday.

Learn more about our locations and get driving directions.

Step 4: Your first appointment

At your first appointment, you will be learning more about radiation therapy, the risks, benefits, and alternatives working with your doctor to discuss next steps in the treatment planning process. An important part of the treatment planning process is conducting a CT simulation, which provides a 3D simulation of your tumor and the area of your body where it is located. This allows your doctor to design a treatment plan just for you, factoring in the type, size, shape, and location of your tumor so they may accurately treat only the area that has cancer, avoiding disruption to the healthy tissues.

Based on the CT simulation and your health records, your doctor will choose the type of treatment you will receive and create your treatment schedule.

Learn more about the types of treatment we offer:

Step 5: Treatment

A typical radiation therapy regimen takes 6 to 9 weeks. Sessions happen five days a week (Monday-Friday). After you check in for your appointment, a member of our treatment team will take you into the treatment room and get you set up on the table. We may use immobilization devices to ensure that your body stays still during treatment. The radiation therapy session itself is 10-15 minutes long.

Our staff and physicians work as a team, with constant communication about patients and their treatments. Each week, one of our physicians will meet with every patient under treatment and assess how they are handling treatments. We have physicians in office every day; if any of our staff members notice anything that needs to be addressed in regards to your treatment, we will contact a physician immediately.

We also stay in regular contact with your referring physician, ensuring that so they stay up to date on how your treatment is proceeding.

Step 6: Treatment is complete

When your treatment ends, the whole RCK team likes to celebrate your success!

Radiation can continue to work for up to 3 weeks after treatment has ended, so we’ll schedule a follow-up appointment. At that time, your radiation oncologist will order follow-up diagnostic testing such as labs or additional scans to see if cancer cells are still present.

If there are no remaining cancer cells, we’ll contact your referring provider with your treatment results. At that time, we will also schedule a one-year follow-up appointment to check for possible recurrence.

Step 7: You’re a cancer survivor!

It’s been a long journey, but as far as the latest medical technology can tell, you’re now cancer-free! We hope you keep up any good health habits you started prior to or during treatment. Mark your calendar for June 4, because that’s National Cancer Survivors Day and you’ve got a lot to celebrate!

Our Physicians

Patients seeking radiation treatment at one of our radiation oncology centers will receive expert care delivered with compassion from our team.

Our centers have three Board Certified Radiation Oncologists, who collectively offer over 80 years of experience.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

If you are referred for radiation therapy during your cancer care, you get to choose where to receive treatment. We are here to support and encourage you—call us today to schedule your first appointment with one of our radiation oncologists at the cancer center nearest to you.