Department of Radiation Oncology


Your doctor has decided to treat your lung tumour with stereotactic body radiation therapy or SBRT.

What is SBRT?

SBRT is a type of radiation therapy treatment that gives a high dose of radiation in a small number of treatments, usually in five or less sessions.

Your doctor will talk with you about your treatment, including possible side effects. You will be asked to sign a consent form for treatment, which the doctor will go over with you. 

Please talk to your treatment team about your medications at each appointment.

What happens next?

Once you have decided to go ahead with lung SBRT, the first step in the process is planning, also known as simulation. You may be given special instructions for stomach filling before this appointment. If you have not been given any instructions, please follow your regular routine. Your planning appointment may take up to two hours

Radiation planning is in the basement of the Odette Cancer Centre T Wing, across from the north elevators in room TB100 (green circle on the map). 

Map indicating radiation planning

What happens in planning?

During planning, a team of radiation therapists will give you a CT scan in the same position that you will be in for treatment. This CT scan is used to make your treatment plan. You may be administered dye for your CT scan.

SBRT planning position

The length of your treatment will be much longer than the CT scan. Please let us know if you are not comfortable so we can help find you a position that you can stay still in.

To make sure you are in the same position for every treatment, the radiation therapists will make tattoos on your skin that will last forever. These are small tattoos, the size of a mole or freckle, that are made with a needle.

Treatment appointments

You will get appointment times for your treatments at the end of your planning appointment. Lung SBRT is administered in four or five treatments, with at least a one-day break in between each treatment. For example, a four treatment schedule could be Monday, Thursday, Monday and Thursday. A five treatment schedule could be Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Monday and Wednesday. We may not be able to schedule your treatments at the time that you request, as we have many patients that need to be booked in for treatment.

What happens during treatment?

On your first day of treatment please check in at the radiation reception on the ground floor of the Odette Cancer Centre (blue circle on the map). A team of radiation therapists will give you your SBRT treatment.

Map indicating Radiation Reception

You will be asked to change into a gown so the radiation therapists can see the tattoos on your skin. Once you are in the right position, the treatment machine (see picture below) will move around you to take an image. The machine may come close to your body, but will never touch you. This image lets us know that you are in the right position for treatment.

treatment machine for SBRT

How long do treatments take?

Your treatment will last about 30 minutes. It is important that you stay still and breathe normally. You will not see or feel anything while the radiation is on. Your team of radiation therapists can see and hear you at all times.

Most patients can drive themselves to and from treatment. You will be at the cancer centre for about 60-90 minutes for each treatment. A member of your SBRT treatment team will see you at least once during your treatment to see how you feel and to arrange follow-up.

Possible side-effects

Side effects may differ from person to person based on their general health and the area of the body that is being treated. Many people have no side effects during or after treatment.

Possible side effects during treatment include:

  • Fatigue or tiredness (most common)
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat or discomfort while swallowing

It can take 4-6 weeks after your treatment is finished to recover from treatment-related side effects.


Patient and Family Support Program

Odette Cancer Centre, Room TG-230
416-480-6100 ext. 64623

Patient education

Information, videos, books, websites and other help can be found:

Cancer Care Ontario: How to manage your symptoms guides

» Symptom guides for managing fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and shortness of breath

Contact information

Darby Erler MRT(T), MHSc
Clinical Specialist Radiation Therapist SBRT
416-480-6100 ext. 67844

Lung Nursing Line
416-480-6100 ext. 681067