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Find A Radiation Oncologist

What to Expect Before Treatment


Before starting radiation therapy treatments, you will meet with your radiation oncology team in a consultation visit to evaluate the need of radiation therapy for your child’s condition. Your team may request further imaging studies or laboratory tests depending on the information they have so far. They may also discuss with other doctors to determine the best plan forward to help your child. Your doctor will discuss with you the different aspects of the radiation treatment process including the benefits, risks, logistics, and the potential short and long-term side effects of the radiation therapy.


Simulation is the set-up process for radiation therapy and is performed before starting radiation treatments. During the set-up process, the radiation oncology team will find a suitable position for your child such that the treatments can be accurately given each time. Your child will receive a CT scan and possibly other imaging in the decided position so that it can be used for radiation planning and treatment. The radiation therapist may also put some marks on the skin to help with the set-up (small ink dots or tattoos). There will be many members of the team present to help your child during the simulation including radiation therapists and possibly others including dosimetrists, physicists, and child life specialists . Sometimes they will provide a mask, body mold, or cushion to help keep your child in the same position for every treatment. Your team may also decide that your child may need to be given medicine to help them sleep during the set-up process and during treatments. This is commonly done for children who are too young to understand why they must hold still and would be discussed with you prior to the simulation. Your child will be monitored by members of the team the entire time during the simulation process.

Treatment Planning

After the simulation, your radiation oncology team will use the information gathered from the simulation and maybe other clinical studies to design an effective and safe radiation plan. Your child’s radiation plan will be created by a team of people including a dosimetrist who will use advanced computer programs to help create the plan. Your radiation oncologist will review and approve all the plan information prior to starting treatment.

Quality Assurance

Since radiation therapy is a complex treatment, quality assurance is performed prior to starting treatments. This involves other members of the treatment team such as medical physicist checking with special equipment to ensure that your child’s individualized treatment plan will work accurately and safely.