Ultimate guide to Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy is a technique using ionising radiation created by a Linear Accelerator (linac). The energy of these rays is significantly higher than the x-rays used in medical imaging. Radiotherapy is predominantly used to treat malignancy as either a curative or palliative measure. It is often used to treat tumours a priori but is typically used in combination with surgery and/or chemotherapy. If used after surgery, it is considered “Adjuvant” and if used before other treatments, “Neoadjuvant”.

Non malignant conditions have also been treated including keloid scars, Peyronie’s disease, dysthyroid eye disease, pigmented villonodular synovitis, pterygium,heterotopic ossification and trigeminal neuralgia.

Radiotherapy is administered by Therapy Radiographers directed by a Consultant Radiotherapist (who is a specialist cancer doctor) in a hospital setting. Adjuvant doses are typically 45 – 60 Gray administered in fractions over several weeks. This is given after planning the treatment often using Computed Tomography, followed by “Simulation”.

There are three main types of radiotherapy:

 

  • External Beam
  • Brachytherapy
  • Unsealed Source

Side effects in the short term include damage to skin, oral, pharyngeal and bowel mucosa, infertility and fatigue. Longer term adverse effects include hair loss, fibrosis, dryness and even cancer.

Another type of radiotherapy administered via the bloodstream is “Radioisotope Therapy”eg 131I for thyroid cancer, Yttrium-90 bound to hormones for neuroendocrine tumours and Metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) for neuroblastomas.

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Study in Excellence

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NHS care has to be shaped around the convenience and concerns of patients. To bring this about, patients must have more say in their own treatment and more influence over the way the NHS works.’ The NHS Plan  Mindful of the Government’s drive for a responsive and reactive health service, and following requests from clients, HCSU has designed a workshop programme to help professional staff groups develop a strategy and plan for effective patient and {more heath news}

Consultancy for Nationwide Health Standards

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Working with and learning from healthcare organisations for over 15 years, meant HCSU had the unique knowledge and skills to help organisations implement their quality improvement programmes and meet statutory requirements Many of the UK government healthcare quality initiatives such as controls assurance and Healthcare Commission reviews were based on the standards and methodology pioneered by HCSU. They offered a range of custom-built services to healthcare organisations, other public sector bodies and voluntary organisations, including: {more heath news}

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