The mask is snug, but should be comfortable, Hoffman said. When treatment starts, the mask is placed on the patient and then bolted to the table ensuring the radiated area is consistent. Most radiation treatments last for 5-20 minutes depending on the location, type and stage of cancer.
Typically radiotherapy masks are created to cover the patient’s head, or it may extend to also cover the neck, even the shoulders.
Some researchers are currently examining ways to allow head and neck cancer patients to use less than an entire mask during treatments, Hoffman said. However these masks are several years away from being routinely used in patient care.
Lynette Summerill is an award-winning writer and watersports junkie living in San Jose, Calif. In addition to writing about cancer for EmpowHER, her work has been seen in publications internationally.
Sources: Interview with Dr. Rex Hoffman. 11 August 2014.
Head and Neck Cancers. NCI Fact Sheet. Accessed 12 August 2014. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Sites-Types/head-and-neck
What are oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers? American Cancer Society. 5 August 2014. Online: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/oralcavityandoropharyngealcancer
ACS Cancer Facts and Figures 2012. http://www.cancer.org/research/cancerfactsfigures/cancerfactsfigures/can...
Reviewed August 13, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody SmithRead more in Roy & Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center