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Radiation Treatments

Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2012

My husband has been diagnosed with cancer of the Vallecula and is in his third week of radiation treatments. I’m curious to know if anyone that has had or is having radiation treatment ever had problems with the machines at the doctor’s office. Out of the 11 times he’s been five of the those times the machine has broke down or malfunctioned postponing his treatment. I’m a little concerned that maybe his treatments are not as they should be. Is this normal or is it just the office we are going to? If someone could post some feedback I would really appreciate it.

blackswampboy's picture
Posts: 341
Joined: Jul 2012

IMRT machine malfunctioned one time for me--they fiddled around, reset it, and continued.

yes, I'd be concerned. when I missed a scheduled treatment due to abscess on neck, they had me come in on saturday for a makeup session. they did not want me to deviate from 6 scheduled rad treatments per week (I always got two on fridays).
but your mileage may vary--your husband's cancer is different from mine.

best wishes to you both.

CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4301
Joined: May 2012


No my machine had no hick-ups.

These IMRT machines (when maintained properly) are constantly being calibrated and checked for measured doses (so to speak). I would hope that even an older machine would provide the proper amount of treatment specified and on target.

If you are concerned, ask them about the machine and find out who is providing maintenance.

I might be concerned, but their answers when you quiz them should tell you to stay or move on.



corleone's picture
Posts: 264
Joined: Jul 2012

I had 35 sessions (70 Gy) and never had this problem. Moreover, during a long weekend the session that was missed that Friday, was performed on the next Monday (when there were 2 radiation sessions, 6 hours apart – not a picnic, but better to know that they made up for it). On the other hand, at Princess Margaret Hospital (Toronto, ON) they have at least 5 machines. During maintenance they use another one (easy to do that, they are only loading your plan on that machine). And to answer your question, yes, I would be concerned if more than 3-4 sessions were skipped(even if made up later).

Posts: 57
Joined: Oct 2012

Linacs are complex and they do break down but that IS an excessive amount. Sounds like it may have had an intermittent problem. This does not affect treatment but unfortunately drags it out longer. Of my 35 treatments, the Synergy I was assigned broke one day. A safety interlock (one of several) malfunctioned. I doubled up treatments the next day. 6 hours apart.

ToBeGolden's picture
Posts: 695
Joined: Aug 2010

Out of some 60 treatments (2 series), the machines had a glitch about 3 times. However, each time the glitch merely delayed the treatment 30 to 60 minutes while the machine was re-calibrated. Rick.

Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2012

Thank you everyone for your responses, they have been very helpful.

hwt's picture
Posts: 2330
Joined: Jun 2012

I would be concerned with the frequency and be asking some questions. Good luck

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