The cancer centre at Mount Vernon provides specialist radiotherapy services to a wide catchment, covering North-west London and Hertfordshire, as well as parts of Thames Valley and Bedfordshire.
The centre’s radiotherapy service includes a multi-disciplinary team of clinical oncologists, specialist registrars, consultant radiographers, advanced nurse and AHP practitioners, therapeutic radiographers, radiotherapy physicists and clinical technologists and administrators.
The radiotherapy equipment at Mount Vernon comprises of CT simulators, with the latest MRI facilities are available to accurately plan treatment. Our linear accelerators deliver the latest radiotherapy techniques including Rapid Arc, intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR).
All the treatment machines and simulators are networked with the treatment planning computers used by our clinical physicists. This allows the smooth transfer of patient data from initial simulation to physics planning and, finally, to those providing patients with their treatment.
The introduction of in-vivo dosimetry, where we can measure the dose delivered as it is given, on all treatment units has further improved the quality of care we provide to our patients undergoing radiotherapy.
The treatment of bladder patients with Carbogen and Nicotinamide has been introduced following a clinical trial protocol aimed at enhancing the efficacy of radiation treatment for certain cases. Other radiotherapy trials are also on-going and patients are offered entry into a clinical trial whenever appropriate.
Each year, some 50,000 fractions are treated with external beam radiotherapy and 600 fractions with brachytherapy.
Fiducial marker insertion for improved prostate localisation is part of imaged guided radiotherapy (IGRT) implementation, as well as for some CyberKnife patients. This service enables smaller treatment volumes to be delivered, which reduces patients’ side-effects to treatment.
The review radiographers are supplementary prescribers and can prescribe medication for radiotherapy induced side-effects, thus reducing the number of healthcare professionals that patients need to see.
Radiographers also undertake telephone follow-up appointments once the radiotherapy treatment has been completed. As a result, patient visits to the cancer centre are reduced and clinic radiographers can co-ordinate aftercare with a holistic assessment of their patients’ physical and psychosocial needs.