Frequently asked questions

Radiotherapy frequently asked questions

Why do I have to come every day?

A course of radiotherapy is often split up in to multiple treatments, called fractions. Delivering the treatment in this way allows your healthy cells to recover between treatments. Sometimes, patients can have single one-off treatments to help relieve pain or symptoms from their cancer.

 Does it have to be done in Lincoln?

Lincolnshire’s only radiotherapy department is based at Lincoln County Hospital. The treatment involves highly specialised equipment; and specialist teams that plan and deliver the treatment, as well as look after the equipment.

Does radiotherapy hurt?

There is nothing to see or feel while the treatment is being delivered. Radiotherapy can sometimes cause side effects which may include some discomfort. This would be discussed with you during your consultation with the oncologist.

Will I be radioactive?

No, for the most common type of radiotherapy (external beam radiotherapy), you will not be radioactive and it is perfectly safe for you to see your family and friends. Certain types of brachytherapy treatment can make you radioactive for a short time, but the staff would discuss this with you prior to the procedure.

How long does treatment take?

Treatment appointments are on average 15 minutes long; though may take longer on your first day while the radiographers do some additional checks. Most of this time is spent getting you in to the correct position, the treatment itself will only take a couple of minutes.

What happens if I miss a treatment?

Ideally, we wouldn’t want you to miss any of your planned radiotherapy sessions once you have started treatment. If for some reason a treatment needs to be cancelled, our team of scientists will look at how this will affect your overall treatment and whether any compensation is required. Compensation may include extra treatment(s) on the end of the course, or delivering two treatments in one day.

What happens if I move during treatment?

During your treatment, we ask that you stay as still as you can. The radiographers will be watching closely to ensure your treatment is being delivered as planned. They are able to pause the treatment if needed, should you accidentally move.