What does radiotherapy for early breast cancer involve?

Once radiotherapy for early breast cancer starts, it’s usually given once a day, 5 days a week for 3–6 weeks. An appointment time is given for each visit.Before radiotherapy starts, the woman will meet with a radiation oncologist: to plan treatment and talk about what is involved. There will usually be a planning visit with a radiation therapist to plan how radiotherapy will be given. A CT scan is taken of the chest and marks are put on the skin to show the radiation therapist where to direct the radiotherapy. The planning visit usually takes about 45 minutes.

Radiotherapy is given in a treatment room using a radiotherapy machine. The radiation therapist will leave the room while the machine is on but can still see the patient and can speak to the patient through an intercom.

Each treatment usually takes only a few minutes. However, the woman will need time to change and may need to wait for the machine to become available so could be at the hospital for up to an hour each day.