For your first treatment, you will be given an appointment which could vary from 30 to 60 minutes. The planning department will check and verify all of the plan parameters before you start treatment. At the treatment unit you will now also meet the radiotherapists responsible for your treatment. In the treatment room you are set up in the same position you were scanned in. A set of verification x-ray images will then be taken. These images are called “portal images” or “verification films” and form part of the “virtual simulation” process. They are used to compare the computer planned position to the actual treatment position and need to be approved by the oncologist before treatment commences. In some cases you will not be treated on the first day. The radiotherapists will only take the position images. Treatment will then start on your second visit to the linac.
Please try to be flexible concerning appointment times, as the one you may want could already be taken, but may become available at a later stage. We do try to accommodate working patients and parents responsible for school lifts etc. Patients from out of town might have to arrange for accommodation for the duration of their treatment. Please ask the receptionist about the availability of places to stay. The department is usually closed over weekends and public holidays. You will be informed if you will receive treatment on these days.
On your daily treatment sessions you will be set up in the treatment position on the treatment couch and your reference marks checked. A set of x- ray images (portal films) will be taken regularly to verify the treatment area. Once the radiotherapists are satisfied that your treatment position is correct they will leave the room and operate the machine from the control room. They will be able to monitor you on closed circuit TV screens and speak to you if necessary via an intercom. Radiotherapy is NOT PAINFUL and you won’t feel anything during treatment. While the radiation beam is on, the machine makes a buzzing noise.