You will be asked to attend a radiotherapy planning appointment this is to enable an individual treatment plan to be designed specifically for you. You will require a Computed Tomography (CT) scan in the position that you will be for your radiotherapy treatment. A CT scan uses radiation to take a 3D map/picture of the area of the body intended for treatment. The radiographers performing the scan may want to put some very small permanent skin marks on the area for treatment. These are only the size of a pin head and aid the positioning and the accuracy of radiotherapy. This CT scan will then be used by the Clinical Oncologist, Dosimetrist and Physicist to plan the optimum treatment for you. The doctor may use previous scans and X-rays to help plan the radiotherapy treatment.
Treatment planning sessions normally take approximately 30 minutes, occasionally you made need an injection of contrast media with the CT scan. The radiographers will inform you if this is required and if it is safe to do so.
If you are having you head or neck area treated you may need a mask made.
What is a mask?
For treatment of the head or neck area you will need to wear a special mask which stabilises your head during treatment. The mask is made of a perforated sheet of thermoplastic and any markings to guide the radiographers can then be drawn on the mask rather than your skin. The process will be explained by the radiographers. You will be asked to lie on a couch and a sheet of thermoplastic will be warmed in a water bath until it is malleable. Once the thermoplastic is warm it will be applied to your face and an impression will be made by gently pressing the mould onto your features. You will be able to breathe normally through the perforations covering the mouth and nose.
Once the mask is made you will have a CT scan to plan the radiotherapy treatment, you will be required to wear the mask for the CT scan as well as each radiotherapy appointment.