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What Does Treatment Involve?
The treatment itself is given by therapeutic radiographers. You will be positioned carefully on a treatment couch a short distance away from the treatment machine. Sometimes an attachment to the machine will rest on your skin during treatment. Otherwise there is nothing to feel from the treatment. Treatments last for a few minutes and you will be alone in the treatment room whilst the machine is switched on. The radiographers are just outside the room and they can watch you on TV monitors.

Your treatment may involve moving the machine to several different positions – all you have to do is lie still, in the required position, and breathe normally.

This treatment does not make you radioactive.

How many times will I need the treatment?
You will already have met your oncologist who has made the decision to prescribe a course of radiotherapy for you. He or she will decide exactly where to treat you, what dose you should have, the number of treatments and the frequency of those treatments. This may be daily, weekly, twice a week or three times a week for anything up to seven weeks. The number of treatments does not reflect the seriousness of your disease. Factors such as age, general health, site of the cancer and type of cancer are all taken into consideration.

How will I feel?
This varies considerably from one person to another and also depends upon which part of the body is being treated. Generally, any effects take a few days to develop. Tiredness is a common side effect so you may feel rather lethargic. An information sheet entitled ‘Treatment Induced Fatigue’ is available.

The skin sometimes becomes more sensitive in the area being treated, similar to the effects of the sun. You may wash the area normally, unless told otherwise, but avoid any undue friction and do not use any creams, ointments or powder on the skin unless approved by your doctor, radiographer or nurse in the department.

The treatment may be quite demanding both physically and mentally and you may find you are able to cope some days better than others. Please let us know if you are having a ‘down day’ – talking often helps to relieve a problem.

The Macmillan Information and Support Radiographers are available to answer any questions and to help you and your family understand what is happening at each stage of your illness and treatment. They can also offer practical and financial advice.

You can contact them by calling 01473 704361 and leaving a message. Alternatively, ask a member of staff to contact them for you.