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Posts: 213
Joined: Sep 2012

Kind of a dumb quesrtion but do you feel anything during the actual radiation treatment or is it the after effects that are the worst. Starting on the first of October just wanted to know what to expect......

blackswampboy's picture
Posts: 341
Joined: Jul 2012

no, don't feel anything during treatment. worst thing for me was this weird smell for a minute or so--kind of a burning smell. my fevered imagination painted pictures of the rads searing my flesh--but there was never any pain.

some people are bothered wearing the mask, but didn't bother me. thought it was kinda cool--and I was relieved that I didn't have to worry about holding still.

phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4673
Joined: Mar 2012

ok, so it's not really torture....You don't feel a darn thing when they're doing it...the mask is the only hurdle when you first start, but everybody seems to manage to get past that hurdle. It's after a couple weeks, into the third weeks that you notice your neck getting red, your mouth is bone dry, and your taste buds have taken a hike....

Another subtle symptom from radiation is fatigue....I was SO tired the whole time, and for several weeks afterwards...be sure to listen to your body....sleep when you feel tired, your body is talking to you.


Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

Nothing during....

I would occasionally smell the Ozone smell, and I didn't like being bolted down with the mask.

So for me a little Xanax for the first week helped the anxiety. After that, I was used to the routine and was OK.

Now a few weeks into it, I would start trying out a few hours after rads each day...


CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4317
Joined: May 2012


No pain during the actual radiation. Pain and discomfort associated with the side effects (starting about the 3rd week). I took 1 Lorazapam 30 minutes before “mask time”. Never (ever) liked it, but I conquered it and came to enjoy my 60’s & 70’s oldies music and loved my technicians (Nancy and Tim) they were stellar. My mask had nice eye holes (not everybody does) and makes it nice to look around. There are lots of things to do to get comfortable and right when you think you have it figured out the side effects kick in.

You will do fine, I was on the scared side of brave and I made it through great.

Best of luck,


Pam M's picture
Pam M
Posts: 2196
Joined: Nov 2009

"Scared side of brave"

Posts: 213
Joined: Sep 2012

Thanks guys and gals. I had the mask for the pet scan and didn't bug me too much just couldn't imagine being bolted down and having pain.

fisrpotpe's picture
Posts: 1349
Joined: Aug 2010

none, zero pain when actually in the mask and clamped down. the amount of radiation i short time adds up. each treatment continues for work for weeks so with several treatments the side effects start to add up. you might get sores in mouth. you might get like a bad sun burn on your neck. you might smell something during treatments. everyone reacts different to the treatments. the good thing if there is a good thing is no pain from the unseen beam durning the actual treatment.

for me being bolted down was a challenge, but got thru it (38).

good luck hard one too find


Tonsil Dad's picture
Tonsil Dad
Posts: 489
Joined: Dec 2011

None, zero, zilch, zip, there is no pain while on the table being
treated with radiation. As mentioned as treatment progresses there
might be some side effects from the rads but there is no pain from
the actual treatment.

God bless
Tonsiil dad,


D Lewis's picture
D Lewis
Posts: 1576
Joined: Jan 2010

The music really helped me get through the treatments, as mine lasted about 25 minutes each. I have not, however, been able to listen to the same musical selections since then. Bummer, as I had previously really enjoyed Navajo flute music.


Tim6003's picture
Posts: 1511
Joined: Nov 2011

I had burns on my neck by the 4th week and by the 5th week we had to stop 2X the burns were so bad....I also started using the feeding tube by week 4 (so that tells you I am a big baby ;)....but too keep in mind each person is different and it appears I am the odd man out on this one ...so you will most likely do great ....

Take a look at my picture on my expressions page of my neck....

Apparently I was a problem child for the team of docs I had and I couldn't even help it ...lol (I won't mention the Erbitux)


ToBeGolden's picture
Posts: 695
Joined: Aug 2010

Just put me in the no pain column (during actual treatment) Now my tumor was totally in the neck (vocal cords), so I didn't have the mouth sores experienced by many. In fact, it only hurt when I swallowed. (So don't swallow dummy) I'm the dummy. Well only swallow when eating/drinking. Spit into a tissue.

For a couple of months, when I went with my wife to the doctor, everyone (nurses, aids, receptionists) all said you have a terrible sun burn and you should see a doctor. I told them about the radiation.

osmotar's picture
Posts: 1005
Joined: Jul 2011

No pain or smell..even the mask was no issue. Where I had my 39 treatments they used rapid arc machine, on and off the table in 10 minutes. The techs are great they are there to help you. As for side or after effects slight sun burn on both sides of the neck where I used unscented aloe . Then of course the lack of saliva and taste, but now 8 months later everything is coming back, still get dry mouth and if I have to talk a lot for work my voice gets raspy and hoarse. Good luck with your upcoming treatments.


Barbara B
Posts: 40
Joined: Sep 2012

No pain other than the anxiety of the mask. My husband also took Xanax initially but then became accustomed to the mask. Said he used to visualize the machine shooting out troops to kill the cancer. What do you expect from a veteran of war? =)

He also used Aquaphor and never got a blister or a burn and he is fair skinned. Good luck, everyone here is rooting for you! Barbara

Posts: 660
Joined: Mar 2012

Agree with the others no actual pain from the RADS just lay down, buckle up MASK and here we go, 15 minutes later, click, click, click as the mask is being taken off. No pain but I always looked forward to the mask coming off and knowing one more behind me. Ps the real pain that comes from RADS is seeing what they charge per treatment, but you dont feel that why on the table, its just another side affect.

Posts: 213
Joined: Sep 2012

Love the other side effect comment, even with decent insurance I am going to destroy my financial life......I figure the safe bet is to owe the doctors something so they have to keep me alive to collect.

hwt's picture
Posts: 2330
Joined: Jun 2012

No pain at all from the actual treatment and I never smelled anything unusual. The actual tx takes less than 15 minutes. Dress comfortably but likely you will just need to remove your shirt and put a gown on. I never felt panicky but then I had the eye holes cut out of my mask. If yours are not cut out, I would certainly ask for them to be. The tx itself is a breeze, it's the side effects that can get you down. You just have to take them as they come and deal with them. You won't get all of them. Well wishes!

Posts: 4
Joined: Sep 2012

No pain. I had a huge problem with mask. Sound of being snapped in freaked me out,I demanded I be unbolted before getting started. My heart felt like it was about to jump out of my chest. Knowing I had to do this I asked for God's help. Prayer came to me, close eyes and breath in God's Love and healing and breath out cancer. Got back on table started prayer and 20 minutes later technician had to wake me up. 4 years later I'm cancer free.

Take care of your skin from the get go. Will pay off 3-4 weeks into treatment? Are you using Tomotherapy?

Posts: 213
Joined: Sep 2012

Actually not sure but assuming the tomotherapy. So far the freakiest part of the mask was when the technician made it, it was a cross between being smothered with a pillow, and water boarding. Understand why but could have used a bit of warning .

Posts: 4
Joined: Sep 2012

Forgot that part. I was probably still in a little shock. Went from meeting with Radiologist directly to being fitted for mask, like you no preparation which I'm not sure for me was a good thing or not.
I have several fillings in my teeth and I needed to wear a mouth piece. If you have one be sure to clean it well before and after treatment.
How many treatments are scheduled, are you also doing chemo and where is the primary site if you don't me asking?

I will be praying for you.

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