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Date: 12 May 2021
How does radiotherapy work?
Radiotherapy aims to destroy any cancer cells in the treated area. Although healthy cells are also affected, they can repair themselves more effectively than the cancer cells. Damage to healthy cells is usually temporary, but this is why radiotherapy can cause side effects.
When is radiotherapy given?
Radiotherapy is given every day, Monday to Friday 08:00 - 18:00, in the radiotherapy department in the Old Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Radiotherapy is delivered by Therapy Radiographers, both male and female. We are a teaching hospital and have student radiographers in the department everyday who are supervised by trained staff.
Radiotherapy plans are a complex process so there will be a time delay between CT planning scan and the start of your radiotherapy treatment of 2 - 3 weeks.
Patients requiring urgent or straight forward treatment may have planning and start treatment on the same day but this will require a long visit of 3 - 5 hours.
Treatment appointments normally take between 10 and 30 minutes.
We understand that most patients have other commitments and we make every effort to schedule appointments for a convenient time however this is not always possible as some times of the day are more popular than others
It is important that all appointments are kept and patients are advised to telephone the radiotherapy department directly if they are unable to attend.
Some gaps in treatment are allowed when machines are serviced, machines breakdown or during public holidays. Any necessary adjustments will be made to treatment to account for these.
Patients are advised to discuss any plans for holidays with their consultant or radiographer as soon as possible.