Skip to main content

Radiotherapy treatment

Treatment will start on a weekday. Each treatment visit normally takes around 20 – 60 minutes but some specialised treatments may take longer.

Treatment is painless and patients will not feel anything but are required to keep still.

On arrival patients will be shown to a changing cubicle if a hospital gown was worn at the CT planning appointment. Only clothes in the area being treated need to be removed. Alternatively, patients can use their own dressing gown rather than a hospital gown if this is preferred.

The therapeutic radiographers will explain what is going to happen and answer any questions before treatment starts. Patients will then be asked to lie on the treatment couch in the same position as in the CT scanner. Once the patient and machine are in the correct position they will leave the room when ready to start treatment.

The therapeutic radiographers will then take some X-ray images to confirm everything is in the correct position before commencing treatment. The treatment machine will move and will only be on for brief periods before moving to the next position. Assessing these images may take some time and require discussion with other members of the team. They may go in and out of the room and make slight adjustments. These images involve a very small additional dose of X-rays, but are essential to ensure accurate treatment.

Staff cannot stay in the room whilst the machine is on, but they are operating the machine and monitoring on the cameras at all times. If for any reason help is needed, patients can raise a hand and the radiographers will immediately stop the treatment and enter the room. Some patients bring a CD to listen to whilst having treatment.

The therapeutic radiographers will continue to take and assess X-ray images during treatment to ensure accuracy. Patients do not feel anything whilst the treatment is being delivered but may hear and see the machine moving. It is important patients remain as still as possible.

CCTV use

Each radiotherapy treatment room has closed circuit television cameras and an intercom. The images are viewable on screens situated in the machine control areas. The control areas are only accessed by authorised staff, some of whom may not be directly involved in your care at the time.

This monitoring is part of ensuring the accuracy of your treatment and your safety and wellbeing in the rooms at all times. Therapeutic radiographers can switch the machine off and enter the room if patients move or call out. The camera image feed is live and it is not possible to make a recording.


It is extremely important that the patient is not pregnant, nor becomes pregnant during a course of radiotherapy. Even a small amount of radiation may damage an unborn baby so it is very important patients let the therapeutic radiographers know at once if there is even a possibility of pregnancy before any radiation exposures are given on the CT scanner or treatment machine.

Patients having radiotherapy are not radioactive and it is safe for pregnant relatives to attend the radiotherapy department.


Last reviewed: 05 March 2024