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Navigating Your Care

You will be referred to Saint Barnabas' Radiation Oncology Department by your general physician, surgeon, oncologist, or other specialist.

Hours

  • Treatment appointments - 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
  • Physician appointments - 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

*These are the general hours of operation and may be subject to change.

Please call (973) 322-5630 to make an appointment.

Every effort will be made to accommodate your request for conveniently scheduled treatment visits; however, we ask for your patience as we simultaneously negotiate the needs of our many other patients.

Prior to beginning treatment, you will have three scheduled appointments in which important preparatory paperwork, testing and your individual treatment plan are addressed. Following these initial visits, you will be scheduled for treatment. On average, patients receive radiation therapy once a day for four to seven weeks. This schedule varies greatly depending upon each patient's individual plan.

1. Your First Visit: The Consultation Appointment

Your first visit will last approximately 1 ½ hours. Our receptionist will mail you forms that you need to complete and bring to the consultation appointment along with your insurance cards and, if applicable, a referral or authorization from your primary physician. If you are unsure whether a referral or authorization is needed, please call your insurance company prior to your consultation so that you bring the required information on the first day. You will be responsible for any insurance co-payments at the time of your consultation. (See Billing Information.)

You may be contacted by the hospital Admitting/Pre-registration team before your appointment in order to enter or confirm all pertinent personal and insurance information in the hospital computer. This pre-registration process will make your visit to our department quick and efficient.

Your doctor will be asked to forward medical information to us, particularly if you are coming to Saint Barnabas for the first time. If this is not done, you will be required to bring with you or make arrangements to have the following sent to us BEFORE the first visit:

  • medical records
  • pathology reports
  • x-rays, CT and/or bone scans, MRI and/or other radiologic images or reports

You will also meet with one of our board-certified radiation oncologists who will plan your treatment and meet with you on a weekly basis. Though you will be assigned to one doctor, your physician's colleagues will be kept abreast of your treatment in case your physician is unavailable and you have a question or need medical attention in his or her absence. You will have two additional "preparatory visits" before your radiation therapy actually begins.

2. Your Second Visit: The Planning Session

During your planning session, you will meet with your radiation oncologist again, as well as our nursing and radiation therapy staff. Patient education will be provided at this time, including an overview of what to expect during your treatment and testing / preparations that must be completed before treatment begins.

The simulation process allows your doctor and our physicists / dosimetrists to define the treatment plan.

An important component of this visit is identifying the precise location for radiation therapy. Initially, marks will be drawn on your skin to define the treatment area.

This is a customary and essential practice to ensure that radiation is delivered to diseased cells and not to the neighboring healthy tissue.

Once treatment progresses, options are available to maintain appropriate guide marks on the skin. A select number of patients will need to be fitted for precise positioning devices made of casting, styrofoam or other lightweight materials that will ensure there is no movement during treatment. Both the creation and daily fitting of these materials is completely painless.

This planning session will take approximately two hours.

At its conclusion, you will make an appointment to return for your final "pre-treatment" appointment.

3. Your Third Visit: The "Trial Run"

This 45-minute appointment will usually take place in the afternoon. During this final visit before your regularly scheduled treatments, staff members, including your doctor, assigned radiation therapists, and physicists/dosimetrists will take images, or films, of your position in conjunction with the simulated plot of your radiation beams to ensure the accuracy of your treatment plan.

At this time, minor adjustments, if necessary, will be made, and your regular treatment times will be scheduled. This trial run will give you a good idea of what to expect during all of your treatment visits.