Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy Arden Centre

The Radiotherapy department is situated in the Arden Centre and has its own entrance to the left of the main hospital entrance.

Patients are entitled to free parking whilst on radiotherapy or intravenous chemotherapy treatment (but not for clinic appointments, counselling or complementary therapy) and will need to give their car registration number to the Arden Centre receptionist on arrival.

Find out more about how Radiotherapy services across the West Midlands are changing for the better here.

 

Department opening times and contact details

The Radiotherapy department is open from 8.45am until 5pm Monday to Friday.

Arden Cancer Reception 02476967272
Radiotherapy Bookings 02476967492
Macmillan Radiographers 02476967290

 

What is Radiotherapy?

Radiotherapy is the use of high-energy radiation, usually x-rays, to kill cancer cells in the area being treated. Radiotherapy can damage normal cells in the treatment area too but they can usually repair themselves, whereas cancer cells can’t. The damage to normal cells results in some side effects but radiotherapy is planned very carefully to avoid treating as much healthy tissue as possible in order to reduce these side effects.

 

The majority of Radiotherapy patients receive treatment as an outpatient where they come into the department daily for their treatment. The number of treatments a patient has will depend on the area to be treated and cancer type. A doctor will discuss this with you before any radiotherapy is planned.  

 

Treatment Planning

In order to deliver treatment accurately and to reduce side effects radiotherapy treatment must be carefully planned. Most patients will have a CT scan in the radiotherapy department before treatment can start. This CT scan is only used to plan the radiotherapy treatment. After the CT scan the patient will be sent home and contacted when their treatment is ready to start, this can be anytime up to 4 weeks after the CT scan. Some patients will not have a CT for radiotherapy but will still be asked to attend the department so that the doctors and radiographers can plan the treatment.   

 

Radiotherapy treatment

Radiographers will deliver the treatment as prescribed by the oncology consultant. Patients will be positioned on the treatment couch in the same way as in the CT scanner.

 

When the patient and the machine are in the correct position, the radiographers will leave the room to switch the machine on. Patients will need to lie quite still.  The radiographers may take some images of the treatment area before delivering the treatment to check that the treatment will be given correctly. The treatment machine will move around the patient but will not touch them. The treatment times are very short, usually just a few minutes but patients may be in the treatment room for 10-30 minutes whilst everything is set up and checked. There is nothing to feel during the treatment but the machine may make a little noise.

 

Throughout the treatment the radiographers watch the patient on closed circuit television cameras, there is also an intercom. They can switch the machine off and enter the room if patients move or call out.

 

Once the machine has switched off there is no radiation present; patients will not be radioactive and are safe to be near pregnant women and children.

 

Side Effects of Treatment

Patients often feel tired during treatment and for a while afterwards. Other side effects of radiotherapy depend on the area treated and will have been explained by the doctor. There are information leaflets explaining the side effects for the different areas of the body that we treat.

 

Our team

Our treatment team consists of therapeutic radiographers who deliver the treatment and physicists and dosimetrists who plan treatments. The radiotherapy team work closely with the clinical oncologists during the radiotherapy planning and treatment process.

 

We also have staff who support patients during their treatment and Macmillan specialist radiographers who provide expert care and support for radiotherapy patients.

 

As we are a teaching hospital we have student radiographers in the department who are closely supervised by qualified and experienced radiographers.

 

Additional Infomation

Macmillan: https://www.macmillan.org.uk/information-and-support/treating/radiotherapy/radiotherapy-explained

 

West Midlands Radiotherapy Service

Our Radiotherapy team is proud to be part of the West Midlands Radiotherapy Operational Delivery Network.

We are working with five other local NHS Trusts in the West Midlands as part of the new joint service, which will improve patient services across the region.

Our vision is to minimise patient’s treatment therapy and maximise its impact, helping to make patients as comfortable as possible throughout their cancer pathway journey.

The new Operational Delivery Network is being developed and supported by Public Health England and the West Midlands Cancer Alliance.

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