Any specific instructions you need to follow for your treatment appointment will be detailed in your letter, or will have been explained you by a radiographer at your previous visit. Please ensure you follow any instructions that you have been given.
On your first visit
Upon arrival a radiographer will explain the procedure, discuss any side-effects of the treatment, and give you a current list of appointments. Please feel free to ask if you have any questions, or if there is something that you do not understand.
During this discussion you will be asked to confirm your name, address, date of birth, and to provide a telephone number if we do not already have one for you. You will also be asked to confirm that you are still happy to proceed with radiotherapy; this is called ‘confirmation of consent’. If you have any queries or concerns a doctor will come to discuss them further.
For female patients, if there is a possibility that you might be pregnant, please ensure you inform a radiographer when you arrive.
If you have a pacemaker, please inform a radiographer when you arrive so that we can ensure the necessary arrangements have been made.
You may be asked to change into a hospital gown before a member of staff takes you into the treatment room. You can bring your own dressing gown if you prefer.
The treatment machine you will be treated on is called a Linear Accelerator (LA). The treatment room is large with the machine to one side and a couch in the centre.
You will be asked to get onto the couch and lie in the same position as you were for your pre-treatment appointment. If you require any help getting on or off the couch, please do not hesitate to ask.
Pen marks might be put on your skin, highlighting any tattoos, to help us see them when the room lights are dimmed.
The couch will move up and along to go under the machine. It may be necessary to move you, which the radiographers will do. These small adjustments are to ensure you are in the correct treatment position. You may be aware of the bed and machine moving. Don’t worry, nothing will touch you and you won’t fall off.
When everything is ready for your treatment to start, the radiographers will tell you they are leaving the room, but they will be able to see you at all times. When the machine is on it will make a buzzing noise, but you will not see or feel anything.
It is important that you breathe normally and remain relaxed. You must keep still until one of the radiographers says it is safe to move. Please do not attempt to get off the couch until you are instructed to do so.
On average you will be in the treatment room for about 10 to 15 minutes, with the treatment itself only lasting about 2 minutes. However, this is dependent upon your specific treatment plan.
Images may be taken either before or during your treatment to check that your treatment position is the same as when you were planned.
Once you have had your treatment you are free to get dressed and go home. Occasionally you may need to stay for a review clinic, held by your Consultant Clinical Oncologist or a Radiographer, have blood tests done or meet with the dietician.
As your treatment progresses your treatment team will be checking how you are feeling each day so they can offer help and support.
Please note that, after treatment you are not radioactive and are of no danger to family or friends.