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What is Radiotherapy?

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WHAT IS RADIOTHERAPY PATIENT INFORMATION LEAFLET This information leaflet aims to assist you in understanding what radiation therapy is and what happens in the lead up to and during your treatment If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to ask any of our Radiotherapy Team who will be happy to assist you What is Radiotherapy Radiation Therapy is the use of high energy x ray beams to treat cancer These targeted x rays either kill the cancer cells or keep them from growing During radiation therapy a machine called a linear accelerator delivers a beam of radiation This beam is targeted very precisely at the part of your body being treated This allows the radiation to target the cancer cells while avoiding healthy structures or tissues in the surrounding area Radiation treatment is painless You will not feel anything while you are being treated The radiation beam passes right through your body and there will be no radiation in your body or your bodily fluids after treatments Planning Scan A CT planning scan is required in order to plan your radiation therapy Even if you have had CT scans before you will need to have a new one specifically for your radiation treatment planning This CT scan will be carried out with you in a very precise position the same position you will be in each time you have your radiation therapy treatment Your Consultant will use this scan to map out the areas for treatment and those to be avoided During your CT you may be injected with a substance through an IV intravenous line in your arm or given a special fluid to drink by mouth Both of these contain contrast This helps make certain body structures show up better on images

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Immobilisation Devices As radiation therapy is to a focused area it is vital that you are in the correct position for each treatment and that you remain still During your CT planning scan a special immobilisation device may be prepared for you Treatment Planning This custom made device will help you to maintain Your Consultant Radiation Oncologist will work the exact same position during each treatment with a multidisciplinary team of experts radiation This may be a mask if we are treating your head neck or brain If we are treating your thorax or abdomen it could be a mould around your body therapists and physicists to design a specific plan for you This can take between 2 to 3 weeks to formulate due to the many rigorous checks carried out to ensure everything is targeted Sometimes a specially made headrest and correctly and to avoid as much healthy tissue footholder are used as possible Whichever option is required these are made to Once all checks have been completed you will fit only you and they will be used during each of be contacted by the Radiotherapy Department to your treatments come in to start your treatment

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Daily Treatment Daily treatments usually take in the region of 15 to 20 minutes from the moment you enter the treatment room During this time you will be positioned in the exact same way in your immobilisation device It is so important to remain still for the duration of each treatment Treatments will be given Monday to Friday The radiation therapists will take daily images to confirm that your treatment setup is correct Any adjustments required will be made before any treatment is given You will see your radiation therapists daily and your Consultant for review while you are having treatment It is important to report changes or side effects that are not normal for you to your radiation therapists in the treatment unit If you have any difficulties or concerns please discuss them with a member of our Radiotherapy team and they will be happy to assist Further Information Further information on this and other related topics is readily available from the following resources Irish Cancer Society 43 45 Northumberland Road Dublin 4 Tel 01 231 0500 Fax 01 231 0555 Email helpline irishcancer ie www cancer ie National Cancer Helpline 1800 200 700 Beacon Hospital Cancer Centre Radiotherapy Department Beacon Hospital Sandyford Dublin 18 Tel 01 293 6691 Fax 01 293 6657

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Beacon Hospital Sandyford Dublin 18 D18 AK68 Tel 01 293 6600 www beaconhospital ie Version 2 11 2022

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