Radiation Therapy Treatment

Southern Tasmania Area Health ServicesTasmanian Health Service - Southern Region

Radiation Therapy Treatment

Once the treatment plan has been approved by the Radiation Oncologist the patient will be advised of the appointment time to commence treatment.  This will be by ‘phone a few days prior to the start date.

Check in for treatment is done at the reception desk and the patient will be seated in the main waiting room.  When the treatment staff is ready for the patient a radiation therapist will accompany you to the sub wait area.  The radiation therapist will explain the treatment procedure and depending on the area of the body being treated, the patient may be asked to change into a gown.

The patient will be taken to the treatment room. Radiation therapists will position the patient on the bed using the tattoos or lines on the head cast and the room lasers to align the patient with the centre of the treatment area.  All the measurements taken from the planning session will be checked and the couch will be positioned under the treatment machine.

When everything is ready the radiation therapists will leave the room.  The patient will be observed by closed circuit TV cameras and there is an intercom system in the room so that the patient can communicate with the radiation therapists if required.

During treatment delivery the machine head will move around the patient, stopping to deliver treatment from different angles.  During this time the patient is required to lie still for about ten minutes while the treatment is completed. The machine does not touch the patient and the patient does not feel anything during the treatment. The experience is similar to having an X-ray but lasts a bit longer. The buzzing of the machine and a red light that comes on inside the treatment room indicate to the patient that their treatment is being delivered.

When the treatment is complete the radiation therapists will re enter the room to bring the couch down and assist the patient off the treatment couch.  Some patients may have one treatment and others may have 35 or more scheduled over many weeks.

On the first day of treatment the patient is given a list of all their appointment times.  Whilst we do try to give you appointments at a similar time each day, this is not always possible.  It is important to bring your appointment card with you every day, and when you check in, the reception staff will check the appointment for the following day has not changed.  If you need to change an appointment please give us as much notice as possible and we will try to accommodate your request.

The treatment will be the same each day, however, due to the maintenance of the machines and the occasional breakdown the patient may need to be treated on another treatment machine. Although there may be differences in the appearance of the machine, or the methods used in the treatment room, there will be no difference in the radiation treatment.

During the course of radiation therapy patients will have a regular review appointments to see the doctor or nurses.  Appointments may also be scheduled with the dietician, speech pathologist and/or a social worker.  At any time the patient should feel free to discuss any concerns with their radiation therapists who can refer the patient on to the doctor or nurses.