What is Radiotherapy?
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.
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.
North Middlesex’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
Where we are
You’ll find Radiotherapy located on Level 0 of the Outpatients department within the ‘Podium’ 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 we are 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.
If you are unable to attend any day, or if we do not need you to come in on a service day, we may allow you a break in your course of Radiotherapy, or make up for the missed day on a Saturday.
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 [JB1] 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 stage of your treatment.
What shall I wear?
On arrival, you will be asked to wait in the main reception before being called through to Radiotherapy treatment 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.
How long does 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 radiotherapy of varying complexity depending on the precise area of your body we are treating. 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-produce 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.
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. The staff here offer support and complimentary therapies to all patients and are happy to take appointment bookings face to face when you arrive.
Justine Mooney- Head of Radiotherapy
Shelly English- Consultant Head & Neck Radiographer
Robert Lythgoe- Treatment Delivery Superintendent
Peter Gale Treatment Delivery Superintendent
Joanne Keeble Pretreatment Delivery Superintendent
Some of our equipment:
Three Varian TrueBeam Treatment Delivery Units (TB1, TB2 & TB3)
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
[JB1]This should be hyperlinked to a general description, ideally elsewhere on North Mid’s site.