Preparing for Radiation Therapy Treatment

Knowing how to prepare and what to expect at your first appointment with your care team can help you and your loved ones feel more confident and informed about your experience.

Your First Appointment

Your first appointment will be in-person or a virtual visit. We will let you know if your visit will be in-person or virtual when your appointment is made.

If your visit is in-person, to keep everyone safe COVID-19 screening questions are sent to you through MyHealth. Your answers help us know if you were exposed to COVID-19. We encourage all patients to complete this survey in MyHealth. Doing so helps make your check-in faster.

If you cannot complete the MyHealth screening questions, a member of your care team will call you 1 to 2 days before your visit.  

You still need to answer COVID-19 screening questions when you enter a Stanford Health Care building.  

You will also be given a mask to wear. 

At your first appointment, you will:

  • Meet some of the members of your care team
  • Find out about the radiation treatment center
  • Ask any questions you may have

Meeting with Your Radiation Oncologist

You may feel a little nervous about meeting with your radiation oncologist for the first time, but knowing what you’ll discuss can help prepare you for your appointment.

During your visit it’s very important to tell the radiation oncologist and care team about:

  • Your past medical history
  • All of the medicines you take, (even those you don’t take all of the time)
  • Any vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you take, since these can affect how your body responds to radiation therapy

You and your doctor will:

Discuss treatment options

Discuss treatment options, including whether or not external beam radiation treatment is recommended.

Discuss your specific treatment

Discuss treatment options, including whether or not external beam radiation treatment is recommended, number of treatments and possible side effects.

Review your health history

Go over your health information and history with your doctor.

Schedule a planning visit or simulation scan

Set up your next appointment for a planning visit or simulation scan in preparation for your radiation treatment, if appropriate.

Discuss signing up for MyHealth

Your doctor and care team will remind you to sign up for MyHealth, an essential online tool for a Stanford Health Care patient or caregiver. MyHealth provides secure access to your health information, as well as a way to connect with your care team.

First Appointment – Checklist

1. Prepare for your appointment

Set up an interpreter that speaks your language

Learn more about Stanford Health Care’s Interpreter Services if you would like to use a free interpreter (in your preferred language). This service is available for your first visit or any future appointments.

Learn more about having radiation therapy at Stanford

Attend the free Radiation Therapy Experience Class (an in-person, onsite class at Stanford) to see the facilities and meet the care team in person.

Remember to bring your list of questions

Bring your list of questions from:

  • Your own list
  • The Stanford Patient Family Resource Guide
Bring your list of medications

Be sure to bring a list of:

  • any medications (prescription and over-the-counter) you take
  • any herbs, supplements or vitamins you take
  • any health aids you use
Review the “Stanford Cancer Services: Patient and Family Resource Guide”

If you prefer a resource you can hold in your hands, you can download the Stanford Cancer Services: Patient & Family Resource Guide or you can ask for it at your first appointment.

This guide provides an overview of the Stanford Cancer Center, including:

  • Your cancer experience at Stanford
  • Maps, directions, parking, public transit options, and contact information
  • Stanford support and resources available to you and your family

2. Items to Bring with You

  • Insurance card(s) including Medicare, Medi-Cal, Covered California, etc.
  • Insurance copay
  • Valid photo identification (such as driver’s license)
  • Manufacturer information (wallet ID card) about your implantable device (e.g. pacemaker), if applicable.

3. Invite a friend or loved one to be with you

Stanford Health Care’s visitor policy is in place to keep our patients and staff safe. Ask a member of your care team about our current policy to find out if a friend or loved one can be with you during your visit.

A family member or friend can help you keep track of things, give support, or just keep you company.

Whether you are a new or a returning patient, your first appointment can be overwhelming with new faces and new information.

We are here to support you. 

4. Plan how to get to Stanford Health Care

Figure out your routes and timing for travel, parking, and walking to your appointment to make sure you’re on time.

Click on a location below to get more information about each location.

5. Visit the Stanford Health Library

The Stanford Health library are an excellent place to get all your health questions answered and find out more.

Stanford’s medical librarians have the knowledge to tackle your questions, simple or complex, with resources you won’t find on the internet.

6. Sign up for MyHealth

MyHealth is an essential tool if you are a Stanford Health Care patient or caregiver.

  • With MyHealth, you have secure access to your health information which makes managing your health easy and convenient.
  • Sign up online or ask a health librarian for assistance.
  • If you need help or have question, call MyHealth Help Desk 866-367-0758.