Silly questions about radiotherapy

SnoozySuzi Member Posts: 2 Member
edited November 2022 in Uterine/Endometrial Cancer #1

I'm starting radiotherapy in a couple of weeks..what can I wear that I don't have to take off? Can I wear long socks (only just over the knee)? It's just getting into winter here, I'm in Scotland so it's going to be VERY cold! Do I take my shoes off? Can I wear a t-shirt and just hitch it up? I definitely don't want to change into a hospital gown because they're open at the back and don't even do up (we'll I can't reach the damn ties), and get practically taken off for the actual treatment so you're lying there pretty much naked, which I'm not keen on. I've been told I won't have to change into a gown if my clothing is OK (trousers off though), but I have no idea what's ok?

I understand if you think this is trivial stuff, but I don't know who to ask except for people who've had radiotherapy.


  • cmb
    cmb Member Posts: 988 Member

    Every step of cancer treatment is new for most of us, so don’t worry about asking questions here. It’s odd though. I remember almost everything about my pre-surgery activities, getting the port, the operation experience, chemo, the initial radiation simulation and the actual process of lying on the radiation table receiving external pelvic treatment. I even remember sitting in the radiation waiting area before my treatments started.

    But I can’t really remember how much clothing I took off for each treatment. I only had external radiation and I do know that I kept my underwear on – although it had to get pulled down low on my hips while I was on the table. My legs were in a precast “mold” to keep them in the same position as they had been during the simulation. And they put a light blanket over my legs once I was situated to keep me from getting cold.

    I have a vague recollection that I wore a gown, but I may be confusing that with the other times I’ve had to wear a gown for CT scans, mammograms, etc. It’s funny – you’d think I’d remember that detail about a process that I had 25 times! Hopefully some of the other women here will have better recall than I do about the gown/no gown issue.

  • Forherself
    Forherself Member Posts: 899 Member

    Welcome Snoozysuzi. I worked as an SRN in Belfast years ago. The NHS was different back then. Here in the US we have blanket warmers. I don't know about Scotland. But warm blankets feel so cozy. Could you ask if they have them? Ask the staff about warmth. Maybe you could bring hot water bottles to place over your legs. They will want you to be comfortable to help you lie still. And ask them about your clothing too. I cant see any reason why you couldn't even wear a sweater on your upper half if it has no metal. The staff should be able to answer your questions before your first treatment.

  • SnoozySuzi
    SnoozySuzi Member Posts: 2 Member

    Thank you so much for coming to my rescue 🙂 I was very worried about a) dignity! and b) being cold..I'm on medication that makes me feel the cold horribly. But now feel I can reasonably ask them about keeping warm and I feel a bit more confident I won't just be plonked onto a cold table and left to freeze!

  • NoTimeForCancer
    NoTimeForCancer Member Posts: 3,246 Member

    Not trivial at all!

    My external radiation was IMRT so I had to insert a dilator for each of the treatments. I didn't know until I got there and I told the poor techs I was not mad at them (2 guys who were great) but the radiation oncologist didn't say - and that is who I was mad at. If I recall I usually just wore a skirt or pants I could take off and leave my top on as I threw a sheet on me when I got on the table. I also had a body form made that I had to get in every time. It was a bag of pellets that they sucked the air out of it to make a body mold.

    Clearly I had to take (at least) my skirt or pants off for the brachytherapy.

    Please come any time with any questions dear.

  • LisaPizza
    LisaPizza Member Posts: 358 Member

    I believe I left my top on, and just pulled my pants down (including underwear) once I got up on the table to lay down. I left my shoes on.

    They make several little pinpoint tattoos to help line up the machine, and they neeed to be visible.

    I was prone, but you could be on your back too.

  • Fridays Child
    Fridays Child Member Posts: 271 Member

    They had me lie on my back, and used little stickers instead of tattoos. I think they had to redo one of the stickers at some point, but they stayed on through showering. Like LisaPizza, I kept my top on and only had to pull my pants down far enough to expose the stickers.

  • cmb
    cmb Member Posts: 988 Member

    Yes, I had the stickers too instead of the tattoos. They had to replace some of mine that got loose during the five weeks of radiation, but I was careful not to dislodge them while I showered.

  • dmmorgan71
    dmmorgan71 Member Posts: 4 Member

    The first time I went in to measure and calculate where the radiation would go was a little more of a process. But when I went in for the actual external radiation treatments, I didn't take anything off. They told me that if I wore elastic waist pants and a shirt that could pull up, it was not necessary.

  • NoTimeForCancer
    NoTimeForCancer Member Posts: 3,246 Member
    edited September 2022 #10

    I had forgotten about being drawn on with an indelible marker and those clear dots to protect them!

  • carolrichwrites
    carolrichwrites Member Posts: 25 Member

    Dear SnoozySuzi,

    I just finished my radiation treatments a week ago, so this is still very clear in my mind! I've read the comments below and agree that the heating blankets the therapists supply are fantastic! Soothing physically and emotionally. I wore sweats (with those little metal end-tabs on the string removed) that I scooched down below the tattoo marks once I was on the table. I left on my bra and tee shirt, left on shoes (and socks, yes). The machine "sees" through the blanket so your tummy can be covered up. I'm pretty shy and I never felt exposed or embarrassed.

    I know everyone's treatments are created for the individual's medical needs, but I assume the pelvic area is the target area for you, so I hope this helps.

    I wish you an easy round of treatments. They are fast once you're used to it. My team played my favorite music during my treatments too. Good care makes all the difference!