What you can expect

External beam radiation for prostate cancer is conducted using a linear accelerator — a machine that directs high-energy beams of radiation into your body. As you lie on a table, the linear accelerator moves around you to deliver radiation from many angles. The linear accelerator delivers the precise dose of radiation planned by your treatment team.

External beam radiation therapy is typically:

  • Given on an outpatient basis
  • Administered five days a week over a period of about seven to nine weeks

Each treatment session usually lasts less than an hour. Most of that is preparation time. The actual radiation treatment only takes a few minutes.

During a treatment session:

  • You lie down in the position determined during your radiation simulation session.
  • You might be positioned with customized immobilization devices to hold you in the same position for each therapy session.
  • The linear accelerator machine may rotate around your body to deliver radiation beams from different directions.
  • You lie still and breathe normally during the treatment.
  • Your radiation therapy team stays nearby in a room with video and audio connections so that you can talk to each other.
  • You shouldn't feel any pain. Speak up if you feel uncomfortable.