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Our Support Services Clerks, Heather or Donna, will call 24 hours prior to your appointment to remind you to bring your current medications and insurance card.
You will be enveloped in warmth and compassion by the entire treatment team the moment you meet our Support Services Clerks at our front desk. Heather and Donna will check you in, review your paperwork and let the ORO team know you are here while you relax in one of our comfortable chairs in our waiting room with a cold beverage if you would like. Our Registered Nurses, Donna or Ashley, will call your name and greet you at the door to the nursing area and will walk you to an exam room. Once in the private exam room, you will sit down so that the nurses can take a brief medical history, review your current medications and perform a vitals check, which includes taking your weight, blood pressure and temperature. The nurses will enter your information into our computer system and take a picture of you for our electronic medical records. This picture helps us make sure that we are treating the right patient with the right treatments. Dr. Blackburn will come examine you and then determine the next steps in your treatment plan. Your first appointment will end with Heather or Donna scheduling you for your second appointment based on your preference for mornings or afternoons and as our schedule permits.
After you check in with Heather or Donna at the front desk and take a seat in our comfortable waiting room, our nurses will call your name and greet you at the entrance to the treatment area. You will change into a gown in one of our private dressing rooms and then meet your Radiation Therapists, Kathy, Cristie, and Pam, who will assist Dr. Blackburn in developing and administering your treatment plan. Dr. Blackburn will determine how many sessions you will need along with the dosimetrist and physicist, who are behind-the-scenes team members here at ORO.
You will receive a CT simulation in the CT scan room which takes about 30 minutes. During the simulation, a custom mold may be created to help with your treatment. Your radiation therapists will also draw some marks on your skin using Sharpie pens. You will need to keep these marks on your skin until your next appointment. These marks are not permanent. You may receive permanent tattoos during your next appointment. The CT simulation is necessary to develop a customized treatment plan that will most effectively treat your cancer and will be approved by Dr. Blackburn. Once your CT simulation is completed you can go home. Our next steps will be to create your treatment plan. Once your treatment plan is complete, we will contact you to schedule your next appointment.
This appointment may last approximately an hour. As always, you will be welcomed into ORO with open arms and warmth from your team. You will change into a gown in your private dressing room and then meet your Radiation team. They will guide you to your treatment room and the treatment machine, called the LINAC, short for linear accelerator. The therapists will position you on the LINAC using lasers. The lasers are used for positioning along with your custom molds and skin marks from your CT appointment.
Some imaging will be done on the LINAC to ensure proper positioning for treatment. These images will be reviewed by Dr. Blackburn and once approved, your treatments can begin. Some patients will begin treatment during this appointment and others may be scheduled to return the following day to begin treatment. The number of treatment sessions will vary based on Dr. Blackburn’s plan which is customized to each patient and can be anywhere from a few day up to 9 weeks.
Your team will bring you to the LINAC room for your treatments. The team will play your favorite music and do everything that they can to make you as comfortable as possible during your treatment sessions. Daily or weekly imaging will be performed to ensure accuracy of treatment.
While receiving your treatment, your therapists will be monitoring you closely on video and audio from the next room. The LINAC may slowly move around your body and you may hear a buzzing noise. The treatment session will last a minimum of 15 minutes.
Onslow Radiation Oncology offers each patient a handmade prayer shawl. These shawls are knitted and crocheted by a group of loving community members known as the Spirituality Committee here at Onslow Memorial Hospital. These community members gather around their finished works of art, join hands and bless them with prayer and positive energy before lovingly providing them to us.