For radiotherapy treatment it is important that the patient is in a set position that’s reproducible on an every day basis. Repeatable, stable positioning allows improved treatment accuracy and ensures safety. The Mould Room’s part in this process is to manufacture patient specific immobilisation devices that are used for every day of treatment.
For head and neck radiotherapy, positioning is achieved by use of an immobilisation mask that is produced by a team of Mould Room Dosimetrists. The mask is formed from modern mouldable thermoplastic material which has been warmed in a hot water bath to make it pliable. It is placed directly onto the skin and the mould room team will then use their hands to form the material to the contours of the body. This will make a close fitting mask that when worn for treatment will ensure that the patient does not move out of correct position.
The Mould Room Dosimetrists also produce a variety of other patient specific treatment aids as requested by the oncologist or physicist. These can include wax sheets or mouldings that when placed next to the skin in the path of the treatment beam will increase the dose to skin surface should that be required. Also manufactured is shaped lead shielding for protection of areas adjacent to the treatment area that are more sensitive to radiation.
Depending on the area being treated, your first appointment back to the Sussex Cancer Centre after being referred for radiotherapy may be to the Mould Room for a treatment aid or immobilisation device. The Mould Room staff will take time to fully and clearly explain the procedure to reassure you at this beginning stage of treatment. It is also an opportunity to further identify any physical difficulties that might effect immobilisation and so decide on a positioning solution that is suitable for both patient comfort and treatment safety and accuracy.