We take account of what our patients and their families say to help us continually develop our services to exceed their expectations. Here are just some of the comments we have received.
Mr Richards comments...
After having precautionary PSA blood tests for a number of years, Alan’s results dramatically altered, and following an examination from his GP and a biopsy, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in July 2012. Alan was treated with hormone therapy for 6 months and TomoTherapy treatment for 7 weeks. He is now in remission.
Did you have any knowledge of TomoTherapy before your treatment?
I had never heard of TomoTherapy before I was diagnosed with cancer. I was aware of radiotherapy, but I had never heard of the machine or knew anything about the varying types of radiation treatment.
Do you feel that your treatment was efficiently planned and specifically for you?
Incredibly so, the staff put an enormous amount of effort into the planning of my treatment. I initially had a needle biopsy upon diagnosis, followed by regular CT scans over the following months, and the results of these were used to determine the delivery of my treatment. This process took a week, and was vital in order to optimise the treatment and reduce the side effects. The planning of my treatment was very detailed and highly focused towards my specific needs; for example I have a pacemaker, and the team managed to work effectively around that.
Were you given all the information you needed prior to treatment to put you at ease?
Definitely. I was informed of the treatment options available, and there was no doubt about the fact that TomoTherapy was the best treatment for me. I wanted to be able to continue with my lifestyle as best I could, and from learning about the TomoTherapy process and how this approach benefits the patient I knew it was likely to enable that.
What are your views on the treatment environment you were in?
Excellent. The team were incredibly professional, kind and caring, not just towards me but my entire family. They really were wonderful. I never felt uncomfortable throughout the whole process, and this was largely down to the team putting me at ease.
What are your views on the timescale of TomoTherapy treatment?
You don’t really have a lot of choice in how long you have treatment for. My treatment was for 40 days - 5 treatments a week. I had to travel an hour each time I came for treatment which was rather stressful, but the team were so supportive and made the process a lot easier for me.
Did you ever have any concerns during the treatment?
No. The radiotherapy team had explained exactly what they were going to do and I was comfortable with that. There was never a moment during my treatment that I was unsure or worried, or when I didn’t know what was happening. The whole team was very approachable, and I knew that if I was ever concerned then I could easily talk to them. I had a lot of contact with my consultant, Dr Morris, along with the nurse, Joan, and the whole radiotherapy team. I was monitored very thoroughly throughout my treatment.
What are your views on the treatment overall?
Outstanding. The accuracy of TomoTherapy is so great compared to other radiotherapy treatments that there really is no contest. The accuracy dramatically reduces the amount of side effects you can suffer from and that was very important to me.
The nurses also arranged for me to see an ophthalmologist and a dermatologist during my time at the hospital, even though this was unrelated to my treatment. The Cromwell has so many services under one roof that it made the whole experience much smoother for me, and I couldn’t thank the team more for that.
Have there been any side effects of the treatment?
The side effects are very slight. Because the treatment is so focused and targets a very specific area, the healthy tissue has not been damaged, so I am able to carry out my every day activities very efficiently.
How has TomoTherapy enabled you to continue with your lifestyle?
I am now in remission and back to doing everything I could do before treatment. The treatment has enabled me to carry on living my life, hopefully for many more years to come.
Do you feel that the Radiotherapy department has given you support following your treatment?
Yes. I see my consultant and carry out tests regularly to manage my progress. I feel comfortable giving the department a call if I have any queries at all, but I haven’t really.
Overall, how do you feel about your experience as a TomoTherapy patient?
I definitely think TomoTherapy is the way forward. The Cromwell’s radiotherapy department is fantastic, the equipment is cutting edge and extremely accurate. The key thing is to try and minimise side effects, and that is exactly what TomoTherapy does. The Cromwell has two machines, which meant if one was having maintenance the other one was in use, so my treatment was never affected or altered.
I am very grateful to the whole team. They were all so kind and helpful, and couldn’t have been more considerate under any circumstances. I was very reassured that everyone knew exactly what they were doing and intended to treat me to the best of their ability - they were so professional and skilled. I honestly don’t think I could have been treated by a better department in the whole of the UK, or even the world. I would strongly recommend anybody in a similar situation to me to have TomoTherapy. If you must have the disease, I believe it is the best way to be treated.