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Date: 1 December 2020
Coming for radiotherapy treatment
Radiotherapy treatment can start on a weekday generally a few weeks after planning CT scan has taken place. Treatment appointments normally take between 10 and 30 minutes. The radiographers will explain what is going to happen and clothing will need to be removed in the area of treatment.
When attending for treatment, patients will be asked by the radiographers to stay as still as possible so that the treatment can be given to the correct place. Nobody else can stay in the room whilst the machine is on but the radiographers that are operating the machine can see into the room on cameras and can hear the patient. If for any reason the patient needs the radiographers, then by just raising a hand will prompt the radiographers to immediately stop the treatment and enter the room. The patient cannot feel the radiotherapy treatment being delivered but may feel the bed moving and be aware of a buzzing or beeping noise in the room when the machine is switched on.
If a patient is diabetic, they should ensure they bring their insulin and some food each time when attending for radiotherapy treatment in case there are any delays. The patient should also inform the treatment radiographers.
Is there anything that patients need to do whilst receiving a course of radiotherapy treatment?
- It is important to keep hydrated and drink plenty of fluids, especially if the patient is also receiving chemotherapy as it helps to reduce toxins that can build up in their system.
- Patients can wash when having treatment but need to only use a mild and un-perfumed soap in the area having treatment. Hot baths with bubble bath should be avoided as should any vigorous rubbing with a towel. Please check with the radiographers before using any normal products as many creams can make skin reactions worse.
- We also recommend that the patient brings any medication they are required to take regularly for example pain killers etc.
After radiotherapy has finished
Once treatment is completed, the acute side effects may continue for a few weeks even though the patient is no longer receiving treatment.
If the side effects persist then patients should continue with the advice that was given during radiotherapy until the side effects stop. If unsure of what to do, a radiographer or consultant can be asked prior to the end of treatment
Most patients will be seen by their consultant when treatment is completed 6-12 weeks after the end of treatment. This appointment will be at the hospital where the patient originally saw their radiotherapy consultant. If an appointment is not received in the post within this time then patients should contact their consultant’s secretary who will be able to check this.