Trivial question about rads

Hi, Im starting rads in January & just wanted to know if u have to lay with your head flat on the table when your having the treatment. The reason i ask is that i get very dizzy if i lay completely flat on anything even if it is for a very short period of time, i always have to use a pillow. I hate the thought of dizziness on top of everything else, i’d like to avoid it if i can,thanks.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I have just finished rads a week ago and although I was on a cold metal table there was a leather pad to put my head on and also a a shaped leather cusion to rest my legs which the back of my knees rested on.

You really aren’t on it for long so it isn’t too uncomfortable. I found my shoulders became quite stiff after a few treatments due to their position.

Hi hjv,
The quick answer is no, not totally flat, they have some kind of frame thingy which means you lie kind of on a slope, with a head rest and arm supports ‘above’ your head. Mine also had a thing that went under your knees too, so a bit of an odd position.

Please mention this concern to them when they do the planning session, as they may be able to take it into account in planning your position (you get moved around quite a lot once you’re on the ‘table’).

The planning session will probably be your longest time there - it literally takes a couple of minutes to deliver each nuking zap inlcduing all the positioning.

And it’s NOT a trivial question!

EDIT if you can cope with video, then the BBC2 My New breast clips include one about radiotherapy with images of the procedure… it may help (or not) hopefully yhis is the link

Hi there hjv123

I thought you might be interested in reading our factsheet on Radiotherapy so I’ve given the link here:

The publication can be either downloaded or ordered from the site.

Hope you find this helpful.

Best wishes


Hi RevCat
Thanks for posting that link to the BBC video clips. I’ve now watched most of those and found them really useful. I don’t think I could have faced watching them a year ago but now I’m 18 months on from initial diagnosis they were fascinating.

Thanks so much ladies, i will definatley mention it when i go.
Revcat- that link was great,thanks for posting, i just watched all the clips relevant to me, im the kind of person who likes to know everything that’s going to happen to me so the rads one is great, i think the chemo one would be good for anyone starting that, i know it would have helped me. You can read up about everything but it’s nothing like seeing it actually happening to help u understand x

RevCat thank you SO much for posting the BBC link. As the saying goes, ‘a picture’s worth a thousand words’.

Hi everyone,

i was just wondering if anyone knows how long after your last chemo would they leave it before booking you in for rads?

i’m sure it will be different for everyone but i was just wondering if there was a ‘typical’ gap or how long other people have waited?


Hi Lynzi

About 3 weeks or so seems quite common, but I know that there are waiting lists in some areas (Glasgow I think) that means it can be quite a bit longer than that.

Good luck

Hi Lynz, i start rads 3 weeks after my last chemo. My chemo is on 6th Jan & rads start on the 27th Jan. Not sure if its the same for everyone though.

I was given my rads planning appt the week after my last chemo, with the expectation of starting a week after that (so two weeks from last chemo). As it happened, I wanted a little holiday, so it was 3 weeks (they were very obliging and encouragign about that) Hope it goes well. Jane

thank you ladies, i will have a word with my BCN see what she has to say :slight_smile: xxxx

I had my 1st rad about 6 weeks after mhy last chemo but I think that this is because my hospital where I had MX with recon and chemo didn’t do rads so I had to see their oncologist first. This appointment was about 4 weeks after my last chemo, then the planning appointment and then rads started. If everything had been done at the same hospital I guess things would have progressed a bit faster, but the aim is to start you within 4 to 6 weeks after your last chemo I was told.

I had my last Chemo 25th November 2010 and they wanted to start Rads about three or four weeks later but I asked if I could start after Christmas as I just wanted a break from it all. They agreed to my planning session on 3rd Jan and I went on to have my Rads throughout January 2011 finishing on 1st Feb.

ahh i see. i will have my Chemo at Huddersfield but Rads in Leeds so i guess there may be a slight delay then. that would be good, i have a few things planned for May/June that i really don’t want to miss. my BCN and ONC have said they will try their best to work round them so fingers crossed xx

I finished chemo on 2nd April, had my op in mid-May. My rads were planned for 5 weeks beginning July. However, my son’s graduating ceremony was in Newcastle and I couldn’t get there and back during the 5 weeks of rads, so my onc said it was perfectly safe to postpone the rads until afterwards (end of July). So, that was 10 weeks delay. It was explained to me that some people find the treatment so draining, that it is better for them to feel psychologically and physically fitter for the rads, so having a larger gap isn’t a problem.


Revcat thanks very much for that link, really helpful and interesting.

Christine xx

Hello All,
Glad the links were useful. Just to confirm Glasgow has a long wait time for rads: 8-12 weeks not uncommon, so sometimes oncs refer early (mine did as I had chemo then surgery, so he referred me as ‘ready’ about four days after they let me out of hospital and the radiologist laughed aloud at my lack of arm movement… it was fine when they began zapping me about 8 weeks later)