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Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy

 

What we do

Radiotherapy is a method of treatment for patients with cancer that uses high-energy, X-Rays on very specific parts of the body as prescribed by your consultant over a course of treatment.

North Mid’s Radiotherapy team welcomes approximately 1,200 new patients every year from across north London and the counties of Hertfordshire and Essex. The department has four dedicated treatment units, each of which are used to treat a wide range of cancer diagnoses including those of the head and neck, lung, breast, abdomen and pelvis.

The Radiotherapy department is committed to delivering the hospital’s objective of providing outstanding care for local people.


Who we are

The Radiotherapy department is part of the wider Cancer service which North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust offers.

We are made up of a number of site specialist Clinical consultants, a Consultant radiographer, a team of Therapy radiographers as well as planning staff. Together, our teams of dedicated radiotherapy nurses, speech and language therapists and dieticians provide a full time, clinical service which aims to address the needs of all our patients in one place.


Where are we?

You’ll find Radiotherapy located on Level 0 of the Outpatients department within the main hospital building.  Enter the hospital via its main entrance opposite Bull Lane and immediately turn left towards the restaurant. We are located at the far end of this corridor.

On your arrival, identify yourself to our receptionist  and notify them of  your appointment time so that they can check you in. Once checked in, simply take a seat and one of our radiographers will visit you for a quick chat .

We do our best to ensure that our service runs on time however when this doesn’t happen due to reasons beyond our control, we display up to date messages at our reception desk so you’ll always know how long you are likely to wait. Feel free to speak to our friendly reception staff if you are concerned or have any queries


When are we open?

The Radiotherapy department is open from 8am until 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. We occasionally work extended hours to enable regular servicing of our treatment machines so we may allocate appointments up to 8pm on rare occasions.

Where possible, if we do not need you to attend on these days we may allow you a break in your course of Radiotherapy, or make up for the missed day on a Saturday. Saturday appointments will not be scheduled any later than 4.30pm.


How long will my radiotherapy take?

Your course of radiotherapy will be prescribed for you by your consultant and may last anywhere between one day and six weeks. You will be notified before you start your first session how long your  overall course of treatment will last.

Each daily treatment (called a ‘Fraction’) of radiotherapy should last between 10 and 30 minutes, depending on the complexity of your treatment.  Radiographers will always explain to you at the start of your treatment how long your daily session will take.

We offer fractions of varying complexity depending on the precise location of your treatment. This may involve holding your breath for a few seconds at a time during treatment delivery, or wearing a face mask for example to help us re-create your position on a daily basis with millimetre accuracy. Your radiographers will explain your personalised treatment plan and cover what is involved before you enter a treatment room.


What will happen when I arrive?

On your first day in the department, you will attend a planning session during which we take a CT scan only and no treatment is delivered. At this appointment, we will provide you with all the information you need for your course of treatment.

On day one of your course of radiotherapy, we will review this information with you again and answer any additional questions you may have. You see the same radiographers each day you attend so we will be happy to address any personal concerns you have at any stage.

If you travel to North Mid by car, please tell us at your first appointment so that we can arrange a parking permit for you to cover the duration of your course of treatment. If you are likely to bring a different car on any day of your radiotherapy, again let us know so that we can ensure you are not charged for your stay.


Who will I see?

When you attend for radiotherapy, you may be scheduled to see your consultant or a specialised Review radiographer who will meet with you to discuss any side effects or concerns you may have. Your appointment times will be arranged so that this all happens in one visit rather than giving you separate times.

If you have any concerns about your appointment times, you can discuss this with your radiographers however, please bear in mind that appointment schedules are finalised as far in advance as possible to minimise wait times therefore your exact preference may not always be possible to accommodate.

If necessary, you may also be seen by the nursing team, dieticians or speech and language therapists  during your visit. Again, this will depend on your treatment and will be explained to you on your first day.

At North Mid, we also offer a specialised counselling service within radiotherapy so if you feel you would benefit from this, speak to a member of our team. All requests from our patients are handled discretely and respectfully so you can feel comfortable letting us know what you feel you need, at every step of your treatment.


What shall I wear?

On arrival, you will be asked to wait in the main reception area before being called through to Radiotherapy sub-waiting area a few minutes before you are due for treatment. Please bear in mind that unless it is your first day or you have a medical reason to be accommodated, we ask that all relatives remain in the main reception at this point.

You may be asked to change into a hospital gown or slip-on pyjama bottoms so please wear clothing that is relatively easy to remove. If you need to remove your jewellery, the radiographers will let you know. Keep your shoes on at all times, but if possible wear slip-on shoes which can be removed easily.

From start to finish, your radiographers will explain everything that is happening and you are free to ask questions at any point throughout each appointment.


Where can I find more information?

Additional information about your specific type of radiotherapy and its potential side effects will be provided to you by your Consultant clinical oncologist.

Our department has a number of information points where you are able to help yourself to any leaflets which are of interest to you. These are available in a range of formats and languages -  just let a member of the team know what you need.

We also offer the services of the Helen Rollason Centre which is run by a cancer charity and can be found adjacent to our department’s reception area. Its staff offer support and complimentary therapies to all patients and are happy to take appointment bookings face to face when you arrive.


Key staff

·         Justine Mooney - Head of radiotherapy

·         Girija Anand - Clinical director for oncology

·         Anna Thompson - Radiotherapy lead clinical oncologist

·         Shelly English - Consultant head & neck radiographer

·         Robert Lythgoe - Treatment delivery superintendent


Some of our equipment

·         Two Varian TrueBeam Treatment Delivery Units (TB1 & TB2)

·         One Elekta Precise Treatment Delivery Unit (SLP)

·         One Xstrahl Superficial Treatment Delivery Unit

·         One Phillips CT Scanner (3D/4D-CT Capabilities)

·         Aria 13 and Mosaiq Record and Verify Systems

·         Oncentra MasterPlan and Varian Eclipse Radiotherapy Planning systems

 

Page last updated: January 2019