Having treatment

When you arrive for treatment, you might be asked to change into a hospital gown or trousers. External radiation is usually given as an outpatient. If you are already in hospital, you will be taken to the radiation treatment department daily.

The total amount of time spent in the treatment room is usually 10-20 minutes.

The machine is on for only a few minutes, but you will be in the room for longer. This is to ensure you are in the right position. Frequently, for the first few seconds of the radiation treatment, staff might take an X-ray to record where the beam is going to make sure it matches your plan. You can breathe normally. There is nothing to feel, the staff leave the room, but you can attract their attention by calling them on the intercom as they watch you from several TV cameras. You might hear a slight buzzing noise.

Small amounts of scattered radiation are present during your treatment within the treatment room. While not harmful to you, they can be a risk to staff if they are exposed to that radiation on a daily basis. Once a week you will have a longer appointment when you will see your doctor who will check your progress.

Image Above: Radiation therapists will position you for your radiation treatment – lie still and breathe normally. (a), (b): Feet stocks and knee rests for both immobilisation and comfort.

Receiving radiation treatment

Image Above: The linear accelerator is positioned to deliver treatment to where it is needed. (c): There is a handle to hold as well as supports under the arms so you can just lie back and relax.