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Radiotherapy Department

What we do

The Radiotherapy Treatment suite provides radiotherapy treatment for cancer patients. It is a radiographer-led oncology service. The therapeutic radiographers are specially trained to deliver radiotherapy to cancer patients. They are part of the clinical oncology team.

Where to book in

Radiotherapy Reception

To check-in for your appointment, go to the reception desk, sign posted from each entrance, and you will be directed to the radiotherapy waiting area appropriate for your appointment. After your first appointment you should be given your schedule of attendance for the remainder of your appointments.

Visitor Facilities

Whilst you are welcome to bring a visitor with you they will not be allowed to enter the radiotherapy treatment machine area but will be asked to remain in the waiting area. Please note there are no facilities for child-care in the waiting areas, however there are play facilities for supervised children.

Mould Room

MacMillan Information

Other facilities include: The Mould room and the Mcmillan Information area.

What is radiotherapy?

Radiotherapy is a painless treatment that uses high energy radiation, usually Xrays, to treat diseases. This is a common treatment for cancer. It is often used before surgery to reduce the size of a tumour prior to removal, or after surgery to destroy any cancer cells that may be left behind.

In some cases the cancer cannot be cured, but radiotherapy can be used to slow its growth and to reduce cancer symptoms.

The radiotherapy which is given to potentially cure a cancer is called radical radiotherapy.

Some benign (non-cancerous) conditions can also be treated using radiotherapy. (This centre treats patients suffering with Dupuytren's Contracture and Planter Fasciitis)

The type and amount of radiation that you receive is carefully calculated to damage the cancer cells, which are abnormal cells. This stops the cancer cells from dividing properly and as a result they are destroyed. Your treatment is planned to avoid as much healthy tissue as possible. It can control and even cure some cancers. Radiation cannot be seen or felt and the treatment is completely painless.

This centre uses advanced radiotherapy which uses state of the art technology to deliver accurately targeted treatment. This level of precision delivers a maximum dose to the treatment area while reducing the amount of normal cells being affected.

This technology enables the radiotherapy department to provide patients with daily image guided radiotherapy (IGRT), which can be combined with intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). These treatments have been shown to treat cancer with greater accuracy and fewer side effects than conventional radiotherapy.

Radiotherapy equipment

The machines used to generate and deliver the radiation are more powerful and sophisticated versions of the diagnostic machines used in hospital x-ray departments. We use two types of machine.

You are most likely to have your radiotherapy as an outpatient. Occasionally it may be necessary to admit patients and treat as an inpatient. Radiotherapy may be used alone or with other treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and hormone therapy.

What Radiotherapy Facilities can you expect?

We have a very well equipped purpose built department with the following equipment.

Gulmay Orthovoltage

Other facilities include:
Consulting rooms, Mould room, Macmillan information area.

How is radiotherapy treatment given?


Radiotherapy Planning

Your first appointment will be for radiotherapy planning. For the majority of cases, this will involve having a planning CT scan in the Radiotherapy Centre. Your consultant will use these x-ray images to precisely pin-point the area to be treated. When the CT scan is complete, the treatment is mapped and calculated on a computer planning system. This process may take from 1 to 21 days depending on the complexity of the plan. This appointment will take 30-60 minutes.

You may have a condition which doesn't require a CT scan and will therefore have an appointment with the consultant for a clinical mark up.

Radiotherapy Treatment

Treatment usually begins within two weeks of radiotherapy planning. For most patients, each treatment session takes no longer than 30 minutes (the actual radiation dose only takes a few minutes of this session). A course of treatment can vary in length from a single session up to six weeks of treatment, attending on a daily basis. There is a two day break each week, generally at weekends (although this may vary from time to time), which allows any healthy cells time to repair themselves. Patients are not 'radioactive' after treatment and there is no risk to patients' family and friends.

Throughout your treatment you will be reviewed regularly by either your consultant or the Clinical Review team of Radiographers and Nurses. This is a good time to ask for any prescriptions that are running low and to ask questions that you may have. Please allow up to an extra hour for this appointment. You may also see a Dietician and a Speech and Language Therapist during your course of treatment.

High Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy

Brachytherapy delivers the radiation treatment close to or into the tumour site with special applicators.

Information

The department has produced a catalogue of information literature which can be viewed.

Accreditation

The radiotherapy Centre has a BSI certified ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System, ensuring robust adherence to policies and procedures and continuous improvement.