Patient & Family Education, Cancer
Hospital  >  Care Programs  >  Odette Cancer Program  >  Patient & family education  >  Treatments  >  Radiation Patient Guide

Radiation Patient Guide


At the Odette Cancer Centre, we understand the impact a diagnosis of cancer can have, and our goal is to provide the best possible care and support for patients and their family members.

For over 25 years, the Odette Cancer Centre (formerly Toronto Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre) has been a leader in the diagnosis, treatment and care of those with cancer. We are the sixth largest comprehensive cancer centre in North America, fully affiliated with the University of Toronto and a partner of Cancer Care Ontario. Our radiation treatment team work together to provide patients the best possible treatment, helping patients take charge of their individual situation through support and education.

This guide is to help you with some of the questions you may have about radiation treatment. It contains general information about external radiation, general side effects, sources of support and more. Your team will explain your own treatment plan to you as everyone’s situation is different. We encourage you to talk with your treatment team about any questions that you may have.

Calvin H.L. Law, MD. MPH. FRCSC.
Chief, Odette Cancer Centre
Vice President, Regional Cancer Services, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Regional Vice President, Cancer Care Ontario
Adjunct Scientist, Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences Professor, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

Using this guide:

Read this guide online by using the navigation links at the bottom of each page.

Your treatment team »

The care we provide at the Odette Cancer Centre is tailored to the needs of each individual patient. Your treatment team work together to provide the best care, education, and support. The Odette Cancer Centre provides a multidisciplinary approach to treatment. The medical staff at the centre are specialists in preventive, radiation, medical and surgical oncology.

Your treatment team may consist of the following healthcare professionals:
  1. Surgical oncologists are physicians that perform surgery related to cancer such as biopsies and removal of lumps or tumours.
  2. Radiation oncologists are physicians that treat cancer with radiation treatments.
  3. Medical oncologists are physicians that treat cancer using medications, such as chemotherapy.
  4. Radiation therapists are specialists in planning and giving radiation treatment. The therapists will give you on-going support.
  5. Planners are radiation therapists who specialize in CT simulation and state of the art planning techniques to develop personalized treatment plans.
  6. CSRT (clinical specialist radiation therapist) are radiation therapists who bring advanced clinical, technical and professional radiation therapy to the health care team.
  7. Medical physicists are professionals who are in charge of the safety and accuracy of the radiation machines and treatment planning computers.
  8. Oncology nurses will work with your radiation oncologists to help you and your family identify your individual needs and make decisions about your care. You will see one of the nurses on your team each week of your treatment.
  9. Clinical dietitians can help you deal with eating problems, weight changes, special diets and the use of nutritional supplements.
  10. Psychologists support patients and their family members by helping them process their thoughts and feelings in relation to cancer. They can help you develop skills to cope with the diagnosis, treatment, and emotional aftermath of cancer.
  11. Psychiatrists provide counseling and the medication treatment of depression, anxiety and other conditions upon referral from a patient’s oncologist.
  12. Social workers provide emotional support to patients and their families and help in coordinating practical resources related to housing, in home support services, finances, and legal issues.
  13. Chaplains and spiritual care therapists offer emotional and spiritual support to patients and family members, by helping them explore their beliefs and values in living with cancer. They can also support any religious needs and rituals if asked.
  14. Speech language pathologists help you maintain and improve speech and swallowing functions affected by your cancer or its treatment.
  15. Occupational therapists can help you manage your daily activites at home, manage problems with memory, and overcome issues you may be facing as you return to work post-treatment.
  16. Physiotherapists* assess, treat, and teach you to manage and prevent physical problems related to cancer and its treatment.
  17. Drug reimbursement specialists can help you access cancer medications not covered by Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) by exploring other drug coverage options.
  18. Students: Since we are a teaching hospital, you may meet students from any of the above professions.

*available for breast cancer patients only

Jump to a section: