Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells. You may be given total body irradiation (TBI) as conditioning treatment before your transplant.
TBI may be given twice a day for 6–8 sessions over 3–4 days.
If you’re having radiotherapy, you will go to the radiotherapy department for a planning session a few days before the treatment begins. The doctor will explain what will happen during your radiotherapy, and you can ask any questions you may have.
Before each session, the radiographer will position you carefully and will make sure you’re comfortable. You’ll have to change position a few times during the session. The radiographer will explain this to you.
During the treatment, you’ll be left alone in the room, but you’ll be able to talk to the radiographer, who will be watching you from the next room. Each session lasts about 40 minutes, but the radiotherapy only takes about 10–20 minutes. You can bring some CDs to listen to during your treatment.
Radiotherapy isn’t painful, but you do have to keep still while your treatment is being given.
Many people find that they don’t have many side effects from total body irradiation. This is because the treatment gives a relatively low dose of radiation to all parts of the body. Possible side effects include tiredness, feeling sick (nausea), diarrhoea and a sore mouth.