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3D brings cancer care to life

18 June 2017

Health Care

Images jumping off the screen and donning darkened glasses, 3D viewing is something we’ve become used to at the cinema, and now being used at Southend University Hospital.

The radiotherapy department are using the eye-popping technology to give patients a three dimensional insight into cancer treatment at the Trust before they start treatment.

Sharon Shibu Thomas, Research Specialist and Lead Urology Advanced Practitioner, said: "We are always looking at what extra we can do to help patients in their radiotherapy journey. The aim of radiotherapy is to target the cancer with high energy x-ray, therefore the biggest challenge is to keep damage to nearby organs to the minimum.

"It is sometimes difficult to illustrate the importance of patients following instructions every day for their radiotherapy treatment. The 3D software has really helped us make that message clearer; it was originally used by trainee undergraduate students to understand radiotherapy techniques."

The 3D presentation brings the linear accelerator, the machine used for treatment, into the room, which allows patients to experience the lasers, exact movements and noises up close and from any angle. Patients therefore become accustomed to exactly what they will experience when they are receiving treatment.

3D has been in use for last two months and is already proving to be a hit.

Alex Cain, Pre-Treatment Lead and Urology Advanced Practitioner, explained what a difference it was making to new patients. He said: "This presentation helps patients feel more confident about their treatment, gives them a clearer picture of the whole treatment pathway and reduces their anxiety".

"Prior to this we just had a booklet with photos but this is far more detailed and really helps prepare patients mentally for what they'll experience whilst receiving their treatment. It's having a huge positive impact on the development of the prostate cancer patient pathway."

ENDS

Image (l-r):  Taiwo Chima, Senior Radiographer; Alex Cain, Pre-Treatment Lead and Urology Advanced Practitioner and Sharon Shibu Thomas, Research Specialist and Lead Urology Advanced Practitioner