Prior to treatment

First specialist appointment

Meet your radiation oncologist or radiation registrar to discuss treatment options, the benefits, potential risks of radiation therapy, and to answer any questions you may have.

This appointment will be on Level B1 of Lomas Building(external link). Check in at reception.

Patients who reside within the Tairawhiti DHB will be seen in Gisborne.

If you decide to have radiation therapy, a simulation session will be scheduled. You will be contacted with a date and time.

The Cancer Society has a booklet with questions you may wish to ask your radiation oncologist.
To read this booklet click here(external link).


Simulation (CT planning scan)

Most patients require a CT planning scan prior to treatment. The scan produces images of inside the body allowing the radiation oncologist to see exactly where to treat.

This appointment will be on Level 1 of Lomas Building(external link). Follow signs to Radiation - Planning and Simulation on Level 1.

  • The scan is painless and takes approximately 30 minutes.
  • It is important that you are as comfortable as possible and breathe normally unless told otherwise. You will be required to lie in the same position when you have your treatment. Photos will also be taken to document this position.
  • After simulation, a radiation therapist may need to make permanent marks (small freckle sized tattoos) on your skin. These marks ensure that you are quickly and correctly positioned for treatment.


Scan preparation

Some people require extra preparation before their simulation, for example, bladder filling or the making of personalised positioning equipment.

If your scan requires extra preparation you will be informed by your radiation oncologist.

Head and/or neck treatment

Many people having treatment to their head require an immobilisation mask to help keep the head still. The mask can also be drawn on so permanent marks are not required above the shoulder.
To view the mask making process click here.


After simulation

There is a gap between your simulation and treatment start date.

  • This time (the planning phase) is used to produce a treatment plan specifically for you.
  • The planning phase is usually between two and four weeks, depending on complexity and cancer type.
  • However for some, the gap may be much shorter and treatment may occur the same week as simulation.

Planning is the process of simulating how the radiation is going to be delivered, and the effect it is going to have inside your body. This involves using a highly sophisticated planning software system and review process, which means your treatment will be safe and as effective as possible.

You are not required to attend during the planning phase.