After discussions with your Oncologist about which treatment is best for you, you will be referred to our radiotherapy service. You will be contacted by our Radiotherapy Assistant team to inform you of when your initial appointment with us will be. They will also ask you for any appointment time preferences you may have. We make every effort to be as accommodating as possible but this is not always achievable.
You may be asked to hold your breath for your CT scan and subsequently for your radiotherapy treatments. You can find out more from our Deep Inspiration Breath Hold guide.
If you are receiving treatment to your prostate you will have a preparation appointment scheduled with one of our Advanced Practitioner Review Radiographers prior to your pre-treatment appointment. This is to ensure you know what will be required of you during your treatment. This appointment may be conducted via telephone or video consultation. They will advise you to fill out a fluid diary and food diary before your CT scan.
Treatment options are discussed at a multidisciplinary team (MDT) meeting which is attended by oncology doctors, radiographers, surgeons and specialist Macmillan cancer nurses.
Where appropriate we use radiotherapy to treat a range of cancer sites including (but not limited to) bladder, brain, breast, gynaecological cancers, cancers of the head and neck, lung, oesophagus, prostate, rectum and skin cancers.
In order to plan your treatment, you may be required to have a planning CT scan. Depending on what part of your body is being treated you may have to follow specific instructions for your CT scan. Sometimes you may have to have an injection of contrast dye in order to additionally highlight the area that is required to be treated. You may also be asked to hold your breath for your treatment or you may be asked to have a full bladder. From this scan, your Oncologist in conjunction with the radiotherapy dosimetrists will create a treatment plan specific to you.
If you are having radiotherapy treatment to your brain, head or neck you may be required to have a mask made. This mask is specific to you and helps to ensure that you are in the correct position every day.
Linear Accelerator Treatment
Our radiotherapy department has three Varian Truebeam linear accelerators. They use multiple different energies in order to deliver treatment, and are able to deliver IMRT (intensity-modulated radiotherapy), VMAT (rapid arc) and stereotactic treatments. The treatment is delivered from outside of your body by a linear accelerator.
Our linacs all have imaging capabilities (IGRT) that will allow the therapeutic radiographers to ensure you are in the correct position for your treatment and allow the treatment to be delivered accurately.
You will not feel anything during the treatment and treatment can lasts on average between five to twenty minutes. You will just hear the machine making a buzzing noise.
If during your planning CT scan you had to have a full bladder you will be required to do this routinely for each of your treatment appointments. You can more information about radiotherapy treatment to a specific part of your body.
During your treatment you may be seen by our Advanced Practitioner Review Radiographers or you may be reviewed by your Oncologist. It is important that you inform the therapeutic radiographers of any side effects you are experiencing as they will be able to advise you of how to manage these. Some of our Review Radiographers are able to prescribe you with medications should they be required.
If you are receiving treatment to your prostate you will have a preparation appointment scheduled with one of our Advanced Practitioner Review Radiographers prior to your pre-treatment appointment. This is to ensure you know what will be required of you during your treatment. This appointment may be conducted via telephone or video consultation.
You may have your treatment delivered with our Xstrahl superficial machine (Gulmay). This is used to treat lesions very close to the skin surface as it uses much lower energy x-rays.
You may have internal radiotherapy treatment. This is routinely delivered in our department for gynaecological cancers and occasionally prostate and skin cancers. You may have brachytherapy alone or in conjunction with external radiotherapy.
Our department is also involved in a number of different trials. Trials are important for a number of reasons; they can help us better understand certain elements of our treatment techniques.
All trials NGH participate in are approved by National Cancer Research Institute and have been granted governance and ethics approval.