Your first treatment appointment
Before you have your treatment one of the radiographers will explain what is going to happen during your treatment and any side effects you may expect.
How should I prepare for treatment?
Unless we tell you otherwise there is nothing special you need to do. You can eat and drink as usual beforehand.
When you come along to the department, please remember these points:
- try to wear clothes that are easy to get on and off
- leave your valuables at home so that there is less risk of losing them
- if you have a pacemaker please tell your oncologist or radiographer
What is a treatment session like?
The radiographers will explain exactly what is going to happen and then help position you on the treatment couch. They will have to move you to help get you in the correct position for your treatment.
Once you are in the treatment room it takes between 10 and 15 minutes to prepare and deliver your radiotherapy. The machine is only delivering treatment for part of this time. The radiographers spend most of the time getting you in the correct position for your treatment.
They will use the skin marks put on during your planning appointments to correctly position you for treatment. It is important you keep as still as possible during treatment. Unless you are told otherwise you can breathe normally. If you feel uncomfortable and think you may not be able to stay in position, please tell the radiographers.
Once you are correctly positioned for treatment the radiographers leave the treatment room, and switch on the machine. X-ray images will be taken to confirm you are in the correct position for treatment to start. The treatment is then given.
You are on your own in the treatment room when you have your treatment, but the radiographers are just outside, watching closely on a CCTV screen and can talk to you on an intercom. If you feel distressed at any time during your treatment please alert the radiographers by raising a hand and they will stop your treatment immediately.
You can have music playing to help you relax during your treatment.
You feel nothing unusual when having radiotherapy (it is similar to having a normal x-ray). The treatment machine makes a buzzing noise when switched on this can stop and start during the session. The machine will move around you during your treatment, it may come close to you but it will not touch you.
When your treatment session has finished, the radiographers will come back into the treatment room.
You can then get dressed again and go home.
You will not be radioactive and you can’t harm your family and friends or pregnant women.
Will I get any side effects?
The side effects depend on the part of your body being treated and how much radiotherapy you are having.
Most side-effects are temporary and after treatment they gradually disappear as you get back to normal.
Radiotherapy can cause long-term effects. For some patients side-effects may be permanent but you will be informed if this is the case for you.
Telephone: 0191 213 8777