Frequently Asked Questions
Information for patients and families ...
Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment which affects the whole body, being that it is administered orally or intravenously.
Radiotherapy uses ionizing radiation produced by a linear accelerator to treat localized neoplasia. Its effectiveness depends on the area being treated, as the therapy is localized and hence limited to the target area.
In conventional radiotherapy most treatment sessions are daily, five days a week, for a period which can vary between one and a couple of weeks.
Other treatments, namely Stereotactic Radiotherapy or Radiosurgery, can be administered in one session or across a few (between 3 and 10).
The duration of each fraction in conventional radiotherapy is quite short, with the patient spending only a couple of minutes in the treatment room, for positioning and verification of the upcoming treatment. The accelerator runs for between 3 and 4 minutes during treatment.
In the case of Stereotaxic and Radiosurgery, and more specifically in single-session Cyberknife treatments, treatment can more prolonged, with the patient remaining in the treatment room for up to 45 minutes to an hour.
There is no pain associated with Radiotherapy treatment.
Most patients’ professional activities and social lives are unaffected by treatment.
Radiotherapy does not interfere with your ability to drive, except in very specific cases relating to the location of the tumour and the prescribed medicine, such as cerebral tumours where there is a risk of convulsions. The medical Radiation Oncologist will give guidance on these issues in your initial consultation.
In order to maximise the effectiveness of the treatment in radiobiological terms, we recommend carrying out treatment with a minimum of interruptions.
If you need to miss a session you should consult the team in order to re-schedule the missed treatment session.
No. Patients undertaking external Radiotherapy will not become radioactive after treatment, and are able to continue perfectly normal social and family lives.