Radiotherapy involves the treatment of cancer with radiation. The
radiation used is similar to that used to take an X-ray picture but is
more penetrating. Radiation is directed to the specific area of the
body where the cancer is, with the aim of destroying cancer cells
whilst avoiding the healthy cells. As with all treatments,
radiotherapy can cause side effects and these are discussed with the
patient before a course of treatment begins.
In our cancer unit, the majority of consultants use a daily
treatment regime. This requires the patient to attend for radiotherapy
daily Monday to Friday for several weeks. Each treatment is relatively
short, lasting on average fifteen minutes.
Treatment is completely painless. Radiotherapy does not make you
radioactive and you will be able to mix freely with family and
friends. Your treatment team of therapy radiographers will be able to
discuss any areas of concern.
The radiotherapy service is supported by a team of expert medical
physicists and dosimetrists. (A dosimetrist is a member of a radiation
oncology team who specialises in the operation of radiation equipments
and calculations of dosages in cooperation with oncologists)
RapidArc has proved
to be a great success. It delivers radiotherapy faster and with a
greater level of accuracy than previous linear
accelerators. Linked to a unique tumour mapping system,
the RapidArc travels around a patient targeting tumours
from 360 degrees in just two minutes, rather than 20
minutes of exposure with older systems. It delivers
radiation, following the contours of cancers, in one
rotation giving better coverage of the tumour volume
with far less damage to nearby healthy tissue.