Once the planning CT scan has been completed, the planning process begins.
Planning your treatment
This happens in the time between a planning CT scan and the start of your radiotherapy treatment. The treatment planning stage has input from Consultants, Planning Radiographers and Radiotherapy Physicists.
When an individual treatment plan is developed and fully approved, it is then ready for treatment.
Your treatment will be carried out by our therapeutic radiographers, who will talk you through the treatment process and answer any questions. They are here to deliver your treatment and support you.
You will need to remove only the clothes in the area of your treatment. You can do this in a changing cubicle or behind a curtain in the treatment room. We have hospital gowns, but you may wish to bring your own dressing gown to make yourself more comfortable.
You will receive your treatment on a Linear Accelerator. This is a highly precise machine that uses electrically generated radiation to target cancer cells to millimetre accuracy.
In the treatment room, our radiographers will move you into the same position you were in for your planning CT scan and then leave the room to deliver your treatment. During your treatment, our radiographers will watch you on CCTV from outside the treatment room. We can also hear and talk to you, to provide reassurance.
Before switching on, a scan or images will be taken to check the position of your radiotherapy within your body. The machine may move around during your imaging and treatment and you may feel the bed move. This is controlled remotely by the radiographers outside the room at all times and they will talk to you so that you know what is happening.
Once the machine is switched on, you will hear a buzzing sound but you will not feel anything during your treatment. The average time for your treatment is between 15 and 20 minutes.
Find out more about radiotherapy treatment, including common side effects please follow this link.
During the course of radiotherapy, you may have review appointments – these will either be with your oncologist or one of our specially trained on-treatment review radiographers.
Your review appointments give you the chance to ask questions and discuss any concerns about your treatment. We cannot tell you how effective your radiotherapy is working at this point. It also allows us to assess any side effects caused by your radiotherapy treatment and support you in managing them. Our review team are trained to advise, prescribe medications and support your emotional needs,
We will also refer you to other healthcare services which may be helpful during your treatment, including:
- psychological support
- physiotherapy and occupational therapy
- dietetic advice
Brachytherapy is a form of radiation treatment which is given from inside the body.
A small radioactive source is placed inside or next to the area which needs to be treated. The source passes into an applicator which is inserted into the patient so the treatment can be given accurately.
As it is an internal treatment only the tissues close to the applicator are affected. Brachytherapy may be delivered as well as external beam radiotherapy or alone as a single treatment.
In Cheltenham, we currently can provide brachytherapy treatment for gynaecological cancers of the endometrium, cervix and vagina.