Before you start
The Hermitage Medical Clinic Radiotherapy Team recommend you drink 2 liters of water daily and maintain a healthy balanced diet prior to your treatment. There are specific recommendations for particular treatment sites for example we have a Rectal Preparation Policy for Prostate Treatments which must be started a week prior to your CT scan and treatment.
Computer Tomography (CT)
You will need a CT scan on you first visit to the radiotherapy department. The CT scanner is a doughnut shaped machine. During the scan you will go in and out of the scanner a number of times. You will not feel anything. You will hear a buzzing/whirring sound. The Radiation Therapist must leave the room during the scan, however they can see and hear you at all times through a glass window. If you are having any discomfort signal to the Radiation Therapists and they will be with you within seconds. We understand that this may be difficult for you, that you may be nervous and that this may be a new experience for you. It is very important that you try to relax as much as possible and that you maintain the position we have put you in for the scan.
Aim of the scan
This CT scan is performed for radiotherapy planning purposes only. This scan is different to normal CT scans as you must be positioned in a particular way that is suitable for your individual treatment; using immobilization devices. This position must be reproducible for your daily treatment. The scan collects images of your internal anatomy from the area we intend to treat, which facilitates the planning process of your treatment.
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The ID process we use at the Radiotherapy Department is a 4 point one which includes you full name, date of birth, address and photo. We acquire a passport size photo of you after your CT scan and upload it onto our radiotherapy treatment system so that we are able to identify you daily using your photo. This photo is part of your confidential medical notes and is used for ID purposes only.
Pregnancy Status (if applicable)
It is very important that you do not become pregnant before or during your radiotherapy. You will need to use contraception while you are on treatment if you are of child-bearing age and if you are sexually active. Your hospital or family doctor can give you advice on contraception; family planning or Well Woman Clinics can also advise you. If you think you may be pregnant please inform the Radiation Therapist or Consultant as soon as possible.
It is very important that you tell the Radiation Therapists if you have a pacemaker, especially if you are dependant upon it. We will need to monitor your pacemaker during your treatment if you are pacemaker dependant.
What to wear?
Wear what you like, comfortable clothes. There is a changing room beside the CT scanner and there are gowns provided for you to change into. The Radiation Therapists will advise you on what to take off/ leave on in preparation for you CT scan.
Permanent Marks (if applicable)
Once the Radiation Therapists are satisfied with your position and have successfully scanned the area they intend to treat they will ask for your consent to place permanent marks on your skin. Using a small needle and some ink, a freckle sized tattoo will be placed on your skin. You will feel a sharp pinprick. Three permanent marks are usually sufficient for treatment positioning purposes. The Radiation Therapists will use lasers and these marks during your daily treatment to reproduce the position you were in during your CT scan.
Shell/ Mask (if applicable)
A shell/mask is used for treatments to the brain, head and neck areas. This is a highly precise form of immobilization which is needed for these regions as treatment structures are so small and in such close proximity to other healthy structures.
A thermoplastic shell is warmed in a water bath and then molded around your face. The shell is breathable. The process takes about 5 minutes. The sensation is similar to that of a facial. The shell cools and once it is solid it is removed from you face. This shell will be used daily to reproduce your CT position.