How is radiotherapy given?
Radiotherapy is delivered by a superficial x-ray treatment machine (SXT)
An applicator is attached to the machine in order to direct the x-rays onto the skin.
When do I attend for treatment?
Depending on the size of the area to be treated
- some patients have just a single treatment.
- some patients attend once a week.
- some patients attend over a period of one to two weeks and you will need to come along every weekday during that time.
Treatment is not usually given on Saturdays, Sundays or on Bank Holidays. The radiographers will tell you about arrangements for missed treatments over Bank Holidays.
Having your treatment
The radiographers will explain exactly what is going to happen and then position you on the couch.
They will use the marks put on your skin to correctly position you for treatment. A thin piece of protective metal will be placed on your skin outlining the area for treatment. The machine will then be positioned on top of this. It may press quite firmly but will not hurt.
If a device to protect the surrounding skin has been made, this will be fitted before treatment.
For any areas treated on the face and neck you will need to wear covers that will protect your eyes.
An individual protective shield may be required if treatment is directed near the nose or the mouth.
It is important that you keep still during treatment but you can breathe normally. If you feel uncomfortable and think you may not be able to stay in position, please tell us.
When you are in the correct position for treatment the radiographers leave the room and switch on the machine.
You are on your own in the room during treatment but the radiographers are just outside. It usually takes a couple of minutes to complete the treatment. The radiographers will watch you on a TV screen. They can hear you and can talk to you on an intercom. If you feel distress at any time during your treatment please alert them by raising a hand and they will stop your treatment immediately. You won’t feel anything unusual whilst having your treatment (it is similar to having a normal x-ray).