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Who we are

The Radiation Medicine Program of The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Center is the single provider of radiation therapy for patients living in the Ottawa region and surrounding communities.

We provide care from 2 sites: The Ottawa Hospital (General Campus) and the Irving Greenberg Family Cancer Center (IGFCC) located on the grounds of the Queensway Carleton Hospital.

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As you access radiation therapy services, you will meet a compassionate, dedicated, and highly specialized team of Radiation Therapists, Radiation Oncologists, Medical Physicists, Radiation Oncology Nurses, Clerical and Technical staff who are committed to providing you with world class care using cutting edge technology.

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Our Services

It is estimated that about 50% of patients diagnosed with cancer will need to receive radiation treatments during their cancer journey (either alone or in combination with chemotherapy and/or surgery).

Getting radiation therapy usually involves 3 steps:

  1. a treatment simulation which is sometimes be called a “CT sim” or “marking” appointment
  2. calculation of the dose of radiation which meets best meets your needs
  3. 1 to 40 radiation (the number of treatments will depend on  the goals of treatment and the type of cancer)

After you and your radiation oncologist make the decision to treat you with radiation therapy, a personalized treatment plan will be developed.

Contact Us

Radiation Therapy Program Contact Us

For new or potential patients-
*A referral from a physician is required

For Patients Undergoing Radiation Treatment

New Patient Registration Office

General Campus

IGFCC

Phone toll free: 1-888-627-5206
Fax toll free: 1-888-627-5346

South

613-737-7700
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North

613-737-7700
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Reception

613-737-7700
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Program Leadership

Radiation Therapy Program Program Leadership

Radiation Medicine Program Administration

Radiation Oncology

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Dr. Jason Pantarotto

Medical Physics

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Dr. Miller MacPherson

Radiation Therapy

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Julie Renaud

Radiation Therapy Journey

Radiation Therapy Journey

Treatment
Simulation

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Treatment
Planning

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Treatment
Delivery
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Treatment
Support

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Expected timelines:

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0 to 10 days arrow

1 day to 8 weeks arrow

What Is Treatment Simulation? What Is Treatment Planning? What Is Treatment Delivery? What Is Treatment Support?
An appointment to:

  • Decide on the position you will need to be in  during your treatment
  • Design treatment accessories such as a face mask if necessary
  • Obtain a CT-scan of the body area(s) needing treatment
  • Mark your body with 1 to 5 small tattoo (permanent dots of ink the size of a freckle)
Behind the scenes we will:

  • Outline the body area(s) to define the area of treatment and  organs to avoid
  • Design a treatment plan and calculate radiation doses
  • Confirm the number of treatments needed and approve the radiation prescription
  • Perform several independent checks to ensure the quality of the plan and that the machines can safely deliver treatment
  • You do not need to be present for treatment planning
We will:

  • Help you into the position chosen at the time of CT simulation
  • Obtain images to confirm you are in the correct position
  • Deliver your radiation treatment
  • Provide you with counseling and education on how to manage symptoms
You will be scheduled a weekly visit with a Radiation Oncologist and on-going symptom management assistance so that we may:

  • Assess your symptoms
  • Review any side effects you may be experiencing
  • Make adjustments to your  treatment plan if needed
  • Provide medical assistance as required
  • Refer you to other support services
How Long Does A Treatment Simulation Appointment Take? How Long Does Treatment Planning Take? How Long Does A Radiation Treatment Appointment Take? How Long Does Treatment Support Take?
30 to 90 minutes, depending on the procedure required.  Plan to be in our department for at least 2 hours Planning can take a few hours to a few weeks to complete (depending on the urgency and complexity of the treatment plan)

The first treatment appointment is typically 30 to 45 minutes per area treated

The following treatments are usually 15 to 30 minutes

Plan to be in the department for at least an hour and allow yourself 15 minutes prior to your appointment time to check in and prepare for treatment

The scheduled weekly visits are typically 10 to 15 minutes in length

When your radiation oncologist holds a review clinic,  plan to be in our department for 1 extra hour in addition to your regular treatment appointment time

 

Why Is Treatment Simulation Needed? Why Is Treatment Planning Needed? Why Is Radiation Treatment Delivery Needed? Why Is Treatment Support Needed?
  • We need to obtain CT images to design a treatment plan and calculate radiation doses specific to your anatomy
  • We need to ensure the position can be reproduced every day on the treatment machine to deliver the radiation accurately
  • We need to ensure that the body area to be treated is getting the maximum dose, while minimizing the impact to the healthy surrounding tissues
  • We need to visualize how the radiation will enter and exit your body.  This helps us to determine the angles the machine will take and how long the radiation treatment needs be
  • Radiation is used to kill cancer cells while avoiding as much normal tissue as possible. It can also be used to provide symptom/pain relief
  • The images obtained during your treatment ensure that the radiation beam is aimed at the right area
  • Radiation is painless when being delivered
  • You will not be radioactive after the treatment is complete
  • We need to ensure you are tolerating the treatment
  • We need to monitor and manage any  side effects
  • We want  to assist you with any questions or concerns
Where & When Is Treatment Simulation Offered? Where & When Is Treatment Planning Offered? Where & When Are Radiation Treatments Offered? Where & When Is Treatment Support Offered?
  • We have 2 CT-simulators at the General Campus and 1 CT-simulator at the IGFCC
  • Appointments are typically offered from Monday to Friday, between 8 am and 4 pm
  • We have treatment planning suites at both campuses. The information required to plan each treatment is available electronically. Your treatment plan can be accessed from either campus by any member of the radiation therapy team.
  • To provide treatment for the most common cancers, we have 6 state-of-the art Elekta Linear Accelerators at the General Campus and 3 at the IGFCC Campus
  • Specialized treatment units such as cyberknife, tomotherapy, brachytherapy, and orthovoltage are only available at the General Campus. To find out if any of these technologies are right for your treatment needs, a physician referral is required
  • Appointments are typically offered from Monday to Friday, between 7:45 am and 5:15 pm
  • We offer on-call and emergency radiation therapy services after hours and on weekends for patients with urgent , cancer-related symptoms who may benefit from immediate treatment
  • We have 2 review clinics (in Radiation South and North) at the General Campus and 1 at the IGFCC.
  • There is a block of time reserved  in the morning or afternoon for your radiation oncologist to see patients.  You will be asked to stop by on a weekly basis before or after your treatment appointment
Who Is Mostly Involved for Treatment Simulation? Who Is Mostly Involved for Treatment Planning? Who Is Mostly Involved During Radiation Treatment Delivery? Who Is Involved for Treatment Support?
  • The Radiation Booking Clerk coordinates all appointments related to radiation therapy
  • The Radiation Receptionist will register you and provide instructions on how to prepare for your appointment and where to wait
  • The Radiation Therapists will perform the CT-simulation procedure and provide you with education
  • The Radiation Nurses will prepare and monitor you if you require a contrast or dye injected as part of your CT-scan procedure
  • The Radiation Oncologist identifies where the radiation should be aimed, which organs should be avoided, and gives the final approval for both the radiation prescription and treatment plan
  • The Treatment Planner or Dosimetrist  designs a plan to focus the radiation beam using different angles and shielding pattern
  • The Medical Physicists ensure the quality of the treatment plan and the safe operation of all radiation equipment
  • The Radiation Receptionist will greet you and provide you with instructions on how to prepare for your treatment. They can also assist you with any appointment changes
  • The Radiation Therapists deliver the treatment and can provide you with counseling and support on managing your side-effects
  • The Radiation Oncologist or Resident (a specialist in training)  have a dedicated morning or afternoon clinic once a week to see their patients
  • Radiation Nurses are available to help you manage your symptoms

Patient Education and Symptom Management

Radiation Side Effects

While on treatment, it is important that you complete the symptom assessment tool each week and review your symptoms with your radiation team.  We can recommend strategies to help reduce or manage your symptoms or prescribe medications if needed.

Fatigue

The side effect most often reported by patients receiving radiation therapy is fatigue.  Fatigue can vary in severity and is different for each person. You may be able to continue all, or a portion of, your normal daily activities. However, it is important to note that receiving and recovering from cancer treatment often requires considerable mental and physical effort.

Skin Changes

Most of the side effects of radiation therapy are limited to the area where you receive radiation. For example, a breast cancer patient may notice a skin irritation (like a sunburn) on her breast a few weeks after starting her treatment; A patient with cancer of the mouth may have trouble swallowing. Some side effects may last for several weeks after the final radiation treatment and can leave you with permanent changes.  Please ensure that your report your symptoms to the radiation therapy team.

Patient Education

You will have one-on-one education sessions during your first and last week of radiation treatments with a member of the radiation therapy team (a radiation therapist or a nurse).  They will discuss the side effects that are specific to the type of treatment you are receiving, provide you with written instructions on how to manage your symptoms, and discuss how to reach us if you require additional help.

To learn more about radiation therapy, side effects, symptom management, and other helpful information, please visit our Online Cancer Resources for Patients and Families