The Royal Free radiotherapy department currently has two TrueBeam linear accelerators, as well as a superficial and orthovoltage unit for the treatment of skin cancers. We deliver a wide range of radiotherapy techniques including IMRT, VMAT, IGRT, SABR, RPM gating and SDX gating.
These advanced techniques allow us to target tumours with more accurate doses of radiation than ever before. Greater accuracy means that fewer healthy cells are damaged, which in turn means that stronger doses can be given and side effects from treatment can be reduced.
Our multidisciplinary team of highly skilled clinical oncologists, physicists, engineers, therapeutic radiographers, planning radiographers and radiotherapy review specialists work closely together to provide our patients with the best care possible.
Clinical oncologists prescribe radiotherapy treatment, as well as take the leading role in its planning and approval. They are responsible for the overall care of patients undergoing radiotherapy and work with the following members of the team:
Therapeutic radiographers are allied health professionals who have undergone specific training to enable them to deliver radiotherapy to patients undergoing treatment for cancer. It is a legal requirement for radiographers to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council in order to practice in the United Kingdom.
Therapeutic radiographers play a large role in managing patient’s treatment pathways, providing knowledge and support for patients whilst delivering radiotherapy treatment. Duties vary from performing planning CT scans, delivering information sessions, inputting plans ready for treatment and delivering treatment itself.
Radiotherapy review specialist
Two radiotherapy review specialists in this department are involved in managing radiotherapy related side effects during and after treatment, reviewing the patient’s general condition, offering advice and support and liaising closely with the clinical oncologists and radiographers.
Medical physicists and radiotherapy engineers
Physicists and radiotherapy engineers facilitate the safe and accurate delivery of radiotherapy and ensure that all external beam treatment units (linear accelerator) are calibrated to give the correct dose. Physicists also play a big role in creating advanced technique treatment plans for patients such as VMAT, IMRT and SABR.
Dieticians ensure that patients maintain a good stable weight throughout their course of treatment by using their expert knowledge of nutrition. Depending on the treatment site, patients may see dieticians once a week during their course of treatment for nutritional support.
Counsellors are trained to speak to patients about any worries and psychological distress they may experience during their cancer treatment and can provide coping strategies in order to help alleviate them. Patients who are referred or request this service will see counsellors once a week.
A complimentary massage therapy service is available for any patients currently undergoing radiotherapy. Please ask a member of staff if you are interested in using this service.