Brachytherapy treatment uses high dose rate (HDR) and low dose rate (LDR) radioactive sources for some types of cancer. We also treat early (lower) rectal cancers with low energy x-rays using a Papillon machine for those patients who may not be fit enough for general anaesthesia or who do not want major surgery and the formation of a stoma.
We have a small specialised theatre located within radiotherapy which is used to treat a variety of gynaecological, prostate, oesophagus and rectal cancers using HDR sources.
There is also a purpose built procedural theatre room based in the Stokes Urology Centre for implantation of LDR seeds for the treatment of Prostate cancer.
We are also very excited to provide a specialised type of contact radiotherapy (low energy x-ray treatment) called ‘Papillon’ developed for the treatment of early rectal cancer.
Telephone: 01483 571 122
Level A, Brachytherapy Theatre, St Luke’s Cancer Centre & Stokes Urology Centre.
Brachytherapy is a form of radiotherapy where a sealed source is placed inside or next to an area requiring treatment. Brachytherapy is commonly used as an effective treatment for a range of tumours and may be delivered as an in-patient or out patient service depending on the procedure. Sometimes it is referred to as internal radiotherapy. Brachytherapy can be high or low dose rate depending on what treatment has been prescribed for you.
The treatment is delivered through tubes that transfer the source from a safe unit into or next to the part of the body that requires the treatment.
Depending on the type of treatment and area that you are having treated, it may be delivered as an outpatient attendance, or if the procedure requires anaesthesia, then you may be admitted to the day surgery unit. For some procedures you may stay overnight. You will be given information on what you need to bring to the hospital, if this is the case.
You will have a clinic appointment to see your doctor before you come for your internal treatment. This is to ensure you know what to expect and to give you time to ask any questions you may have.
They will be present during your treatment. They operate the machine being used to treat you and are trained to deliver the treatment.
They provide radiation dose information. They may be present during your treatment, but are usually outside the treatment room.
Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
You will normally have met your CNS before you come for your radiotherapy.
The radiographers or nurses looking after you will explain the procedure to you. As we treat many different types of cancer, it is important to say that you will have met one of the radiographers prior to your treatment and they will have explained your personal treatment plan to you. You will have the opportunity to ask questions. Sometimes it helps to come prepared with questions written down. If you are being admitted to Day surgery you will receive independently information regarding your admission.
Short term side effects arising from HDR treatment tend to be limited as the radiation dose is mainly confined to a small area but they may still occur. However if you have received a course of external beam radiotherapy to your pelvis you may experience the side effects relating to that treatment.
If you have problems with any of the side effects listed below and you are worried please feel free to contact the radiographers who treated you (via telephone number for radiotherapy reception), the radiotherapy review team or your clinical nurse specialist.
See Patient Information Leaflets:
Long term side effects can occur several months to years after the radiotherapy has finished. Once your radiotherapy has ended you will initially have regular follow-up appointments with your consultant and you will be carefully monitored for any signs of these long term effects. It may be useful to keep a note of your side effects during and after your radiotherapy so they can be more easily monitored.
Please remember that late effects of treatment only happen in a small number of patients who have received radiotherapy.
Further support can be given by the various Support Centres at locations in Guildford, Crawley and Purley. These centres provide information, complementary therapies, support groups and one to one support. To find out more contact the individual centres or ask radiotherapy department staff for a leaflet.
Telephone: 01483 406 618
Telephone: 01737 304 176
Telephone: 01293 534 466
Telephone: 02086 680 974