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Radiotherapy

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Colchester hospital

In addition to the above we also use Brachytherapy, this is where tubes are inserted directly into the affected area and the radioactive material is moved along those tubes. This means that the tumour can receive a high dose of radiation but surrounding tissues only get a small dose. Brachytherapy can be used to treat many cancers but at Colchester we use it to treat gynaecological cancers.

 

We also offer treatment for Dupuytren’s Disease (Contracture) where early use of radiotherapy can delay or avoid the need for surgery.

 

 

We have 2 Macmillan Information and Support radiographers, their role is to provide:

  • Specialist radiotherapy information booklets written by us
  • Time and space for patients to discuss treatments and concerns
  • Holistic support
  • An information phone service

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Colchester Hospital

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Radiotherapy:

  • Is painless
  • Uses high energy radiation to reduce tumour size
  • Cannot be seen or felt
  • Can be used before surgery to reduce tumour size
  • Can be used after surgery to destroy any cancer cells that have not been removed
  • Slows the growth and reduces symptoms of cancers that cannot be cured
  • Can be used on its own or with chemotherapy, hormone treatments or surgery
  • Can be used to treat other conditions such as Dupuytrens Contracture and Plantar Fasciitis

 

The amount and type of radiation that you receive is calculated to damage the abnormal cancer cells. This stops them from dividing properly and as a result they are destroyed.

Some damage may occur to other tissues near the cancer site but we aim to reduce this by careful targeting and by using the least amount of radiation that we can

 

Before treatment, CT Scan:

  • We need to plan your radiotherapy so you may be required to have a CT scan, this provides an accurate picture of your body and your tumour and allows you to work out the most comfortable position for you to be in.
  • The CT scan is painless
  • We may to need to inject a dye into your arm to highlight parts of your body
  • After the scan we may want to make marks on your skin like a tattoo to ensure that we are always in exactly the same position when we do the radiotherapy. These will look like little freckles
  • Not everybody will require a CT scan

 

Before treatment, making a mould:

  • Some patients will need to have a mould taken
  • This helps keep you still
  • It is made by using a warm soft plastic that we lay on your body, as the plastic cools it becomes more rigid and forms a mould that fits to your individual contours
  • It feels like having a warm flannel placed on you
  • Moulds are usually used for head and neck tumours but can be used for others
  • In some cases moulds are used to protect the area that is not being irradiated. This is achieved by covering it in lead shielding

 

Before treatment, simulation:

  • This involves us double checking all the plans that we have put in place for you
  • You will lie on the simulator bed, in the position that you will be in for your therapy
  • We will line you up with your “tattoos” and take some more images
  • We use these images to make more calculations

Treatment:

  • The treatment will not make you radioactive
  • Your treatment is reviewed regularly
  • Everybody’s treatment is different, it can be every day, once a week, twice a week etc
  • You will be positioned on a treatment couch, close to the treatment machine
  • Sometimes there is an attachment on the machine which may rest on your skin
  • You should not feel anything
  • Each session lasts about 30 minutes but only part of that is the treatment

 

After treatment, how will I feel?

  • Side effects vary greatly depending on many factors
  • Generally they take a few days to develop
  • Tiredness is common, both physical and mental
  • Skin can sometimes become sensitive and irritated

 

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Let us know if you are suffering we can help.

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