A radiation therapist will come to meet you in the main waiting room. They’ll explain everything you need to know about your treatment. This is a good time to ask any questions you may have about your treatment. They will then take you to the treatment area and show you where to wait each day. They may ask you to get changed into a gown or trousers depending on which part of the body we are treating and will give you a basket to put your belongings in while you’re being treated.
Your treatment appointments
Your treatment plan will include several radiation sessions. You’ll generally spend 15 minutes per day in the treatment room.
When you arrive each day please check in at the Wellington Blood and Cancer Centre reception on Level 2 of the hospital and come through to the treatment area.
Your treatment will be delivered using a Linear accelerator machine. Get changed if you have been told to and wait until the staff call you through.
A radiation therapist will take you into the treatment room. Your support people are welcome to come in after the first day. You will be asked to lie down on the couch and will be positioned as you were at your planning CT appointment. If you had a mask made for your CT scan, you’ll be asked to wear this.
A patient being treated on a linear accelerator machine.
The radiation therapists will then move you and the machine into the right position using the plan that was made for you. They’ll draw around your tattoo dots (if you have them) and dim the room lights so they can use laser lights to help make sure you are in the right position. It can feel a bit funny being moved around.
They’ll also take some X-ray images to check you are in the right position. There are parts of the machine that come out to enable the treatment staff to take these images. Do not be alarmed if you feel the couch move after the images have been taken - this is being controlled by the radiation therapists.
Once you are in the correct place, they’ll move the machine around you. From now on you’ll need to stay as still as you can. They’ll check that the machine is set correctly and tell you when they are ready to leave the room. You will hear a bleeping noise as they leave and may hear a door closing. While the radiation therapists are out of the room they can see and hear you at all times. If you need them, simply call out or wave and they will come straight back in.
When you are having treatment you will not be able to feel anything but you may see the machine moving and hear a buzzing sound. Even if you think the treatment has finished please stay in the same position until the radiation therapist has come back into the room and tell you it is ok to move.
You may experience side effects after your treatment. They vary from person to person and your doctor will explain all the side effects during your intital planning appointment.
Side effects depend on the:
• amount of radiation given
• area of body treated
• type of radiation
• other treatments you may have had or are still having eg. chemotherapy