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Date: 1 December 2020
What needs to happen before Radiotherapy treatment can be started?
Before treatment begins, patients need to attend a planning appointment. Planning makes sure that the radiotherapy is aimed precisely at the cancer. All radiotherapy treatments are planned on an individual basis.
Usually a week after consenting for radiotherapy an appointment will be received in the post to attend for a planning computerised tomography (CT) scan appointment. This letter may include specific instructions that need to be followed before attending this scan. The instructions need to be followed to avoid any delays. Clothing will need to be removed in the area to be treated before the scan.
A planning visit will take 30 – 60 minutes. Radiographers will explain the procedure on arrival and give any special instructions to prepare before the scan.
Some people may need to have a mould or mask made before having a planning CT scan to help keep the area still. This mould or mask is made in the Mould Room and masks or moulds are often used for patients having treatment to their head, neck, arms or legs.
It is very important that the position in the CT scan is the same position for treatment to ensure accuracy.
It is extremely important that the patient is not pregnant or becomes pregnant during a course of radiotherapy. Even a small amount of radiation may damage an unborn baby so it is very important to let the radiographers know at once if a patient thinks that there is even a possibility of pregnancy before any radiation exposures are given on the CT scanner or treatment machine.
It is important that the patient informs their doctor or a radiographer if they have a pacemaker. Radiation may affect the pacemaker so pacing checks will need to be organised throughout the course of treatment.