St. Vincent’s Private Hospital Radiotherapy Department was established in 1995, and has since been at the forefront of providing radiotherapy services as part of the hospital’s comprehensive multidisciplinary oncology services.
Radiation therapy is the use of invisible high energy x rays and similar rays (electrons) to treat tumours either malignant or benign. The goal of this treatment is to destroy the cancer cells while minimising the harm to nearby healthy tissue. In certain cancers radiation therapy may be used as the main treatment.
It may also be used before surgery to shrink a tumour, so it is easier to remove, known as aeoadjuvant treatment, or adjuvant therapy, given after the main treatment (surgery, chemotherapy) to target any potential remaining cancer cells. Where appropriate, radiotherapy at St. Vincent’s Private Hospital is used to treat many different forms of cancer, including skin cancer, head and neck cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, anal cancer, palliative cancer and prostate cancer.
The centre’s radiotherapy service comprises a multidisciplinary team of clinical radiation oncologists, specialist registrars, radiation therapists, physicists, dosimeterists, engineering and administrators.
The department has a fully integrated network patient management system allowing for the automatic transfer of patient data from entry through CT simulation, treatment planning on to final treatment delivery on the linear accelerators. The division is also networked to the diagnostic imaging department enabling data including MRI data to be transferred and merged.
The linear accelerators are identically matched and in the event of a breakdown or scheduled service days, allow for the seamless transfer of patient data from one treatment unit to the other with no missed days incurred in the prescribed treatment.
- Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) type treatments have been in operation since 2010. This external beam treatment delivers a higher dose to a precise sculpted shape around a tumour minimizing the dose to surrounding tissue
- In 2012 the department upgraded its Brachytherapy High Dose Rate facility, installing a new treatment unit and associated treatment planning computer.
- The car park adjacent to the Radiotherapy department was refurbished in 2014 providing a dedicated car park (incorporating 18 spaces) allowing ease of access for all radiotherapy patients.
- Low Dose Rate I125 seed brachytherapy for the treatment of prostate cancer commenced in January 2015
Appointment and Referral information
Tel: (01) 260 9310
Fax: (01) 260 9524
Radiotherapy Services Manager- Patricia Flanagan
Tel: (01) 260 9224,
Radiotherapy Administration – Teresa Carroll
Tel: (01) 260 9310/9278
Chief Physicist – Martin Sheridan
Tel: (01) 260 9238
Mob: 087 851 8056
The department is opened from 08.30 -17.30
Appointment details for Treatment
Radiotherapy planning and treatment is by appointment only.
About your treatment
Planning your treatment
The decision whether to use radiotherapy and which type of radiotherapy to use is made on a patient-by-patient basis. Different tumour types respond to radiotherapy in different ways so all patients require an individualised treatment plan. Before we plan your treatment, we will ask for your consent, to confirm that you agree to have radiotherapy treatment. Radiotherapy planning is used to determine the area to be treated. You will need to have a CT (computerised tomography) scan in the radiotherapy department. After the scan, the radiation therapists will take some measurements and make some permanent marks on your skin. This acts as a reference for set purposes during the course of your treatment. Your planning appointment may take about an hour.
The consultant will prescribe the amount of radiation required for your treatment. This amount is then divided up into smaller doses (called fractions) that are given over a period of days or weeks. You may just have one visit or lots of visits over six to seven weeks. Your treatment will start about one/three weeks after your planning session depending on the area for treatment. On your first day of treatment, the radiation therapist will explain your treatment and possible side-effects. When you have treatment, you will be positioned according to your set up instruction from the planning scan. Images will be performed to ensure that the correct position and that the planned target volume of treatment is correct. During the treatment the radiation therapists will monitor you closely on CCTV.
Before you consent to the treatment, the hospital staff will explain any possible side effects. They can also give tips on how to deal with them and how they can be treated. Before you start your treatment, you may find it helpful to read this information alongside information about the specific type of cancer you have. It will include information about the possible side effects of radiotherapy. Being aware of these in advance can help you cope with any side effects that may develop
These are usually only felt in the area that you are having treated and will depend on which part of the body is treated. The radiographers will give you specific information about the side-effects you may experience. Possible side effects include:
- a skin reaction
- hair loss
- fatigue (tiredness not relieved by resting)
- constipation or diarrhoea.
The side-effects continue for a while after your last visit and reach a peak about seven to 10 days after you have finished treatment.
You will have a follow-up appointment four to six weeks after your course of radiotherapy ends. Your consultant will contact you with details of this appointment.