We deliver personalised 'made to measure' highly conformal radiotherapy also known as 3D conformal radiotherapy. This involves dedicated CT simulation scans, along with other imaging data to help localise or pin point the tumour in three dimensions (3D).The information from our dedicated radiotherapy CT scan along with other modalities is processed and then sent directly to our sophisticated radiotherapy planning computer. It is this computer program then designs radiation beams that can be best used to accurately target the tumour, dosing it effectively and precisely whilst minimizing dose to the surrounding healthy tissue.
PINNACLE 3D TREATMENT PLANNING SYSTEM
Before your treatment can commence, radiotherapy CT simulation and planning must be undertaken. Effective radiotherapy treatment requires that treatment beams are precisely measured, shaped and directed at the tumour to avoid as much good surrounding tissue as possible.
The planning process, known as dosimetry utilises complicated computer calculation software and 3D visualization tools that is applied to each patient's anatomy to best determine the angle of approach, radiation beam shapes and intensity whilst accounting for each patient's individual body size, shape and contour. Read more
ELEKTA LINEAR ACCELERATOR
A linear accelerator (Linac) is sophisticated medical equipment used to deliver radiotherapy treatments for patients with cancer. The Linac can be used to treat cancers of nearly all types and presentations. During radiotherapy, treatment is given by directing the planned targeted radiation beams through the skin to the cancer and surrounding area to destroy the main tumour and any nearby cells. Patients lie on a moveable treatment couch and with the help of spatially calibrated lasers are maneuvered to ensure accurate beam positioning. The treatment couch can also be maneuvered in many planes with sub-millimetre accuracy, this occurs synchronously with the Linac gantry, which can be directed towards the patient's cancer from any angle in a 360° arc. Read more
Superficial Radiotherapy Equipment
Superficial Radiotherapy treatment is usually used to treat lesions that do not require a dose of radiation to a great depth, such as skin and scars. This type of treatment uses kilo-voltage x-rays on the superficial machine or using electrons on our Linear Accelerators.
It is not usually necessary to attend the CT simulator to plan this type of treatment. Your Radiation Oncologist and Radiation Therapist usually mark the area when you come for your initial consultation appointment. Pen marks using non-toxic water based felt-tip pens will be drawn on your skin to highlight the area needing treatment.
Measurements and a photograph of the area will then be taken as a record, these are used as a reference for your future treatment visits. You will always be asked for your permission before any photographs are taken and the images are protected by our confidentiality policy. Sometimes a thin lead shield may be around near the area to be treated to protect any healthy tissue around the treatment area, this will be placed on your skin; it is not uncomfortable. The Superficial Radiotherapy machine is fitted with applicators which are moved to rest gently on your skin over the treatment area. This should not cause any discomfort.
When everything is ready for your treatment to start, the Radiation Therapists will leave the room and switch the machine on, but they can see you at all times. When the machine is on, it will make a beeping noise but you will not feel anything. It is important that you breathe normally and remain relaxed. You must keep still until one of the Radiation Therapists says it is safe to move. Please do not attempt to get off the couch until you are instructed to do so. The treatment normally lasts about 5- 10 minutes.
If your treatment is near the eye you may need to wear a protective contact lens. This will be inserted after a local anaesthetic in the form of an eye drop is applied by our Radiation Oncology Nurse. The eye will need to be covered for at least two hours afterwards. In these circumstances it is best not to drive yourself to the our clinic. You will be told in advance if this might happen.
Treatment for skin cancers can be given in single doses or over a course of several weeks. If Radiation Oncologist prescribes a course of treatment you will be given a list of appointment times. The prescribed radiation dose and the number of days over which it is given will vary from patient to patient. Some treatments are given daily, others on alternative days; your Radiation Oncologist will discuss this with you.
Subsequent treatments will be quicker, as the area to be treated is already defined and calculations completed, these should take approximately 10 minutes. You will be treated on the same machine throughout your course of radiotherapy. There is usually no radiotherapy treatment on Saturdays and Sundays, and this is taken into account when your treatment is planned.