My name is Dr Kristina Small and I have recently completed a PhD at the University of Manchester researching new types of radiotherapy treatment. While I was writing my thesis, I noticed that, although there was information available about how patients will feel during and after radiotherapy treatment, I couldn’t find much about how radiotherapy actually works.
I think that information on the basic science of radiotherapy could be a useful resource to both cancer patients and their loved ones. Having spoken to a few patients during my time volunteering at the Christie hospital in Manchester, they indicated, very understandably, that radiotherapy can be a daunting prospect in part because they didn’t really understand how it worked.
I hope that by providing this information, this may help to reduce anxiety surrounding radiotherapy treatment as well as ensuring mis-information is avoided. It could help patients to explain what is going on to loved ones, in particular to children who often have a lot of questions! This information could also be of use to patients’ loved ones who also want to understand how the treatment works. I myself found this reassuring when my mum was undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer while I was growing up.
I am therefore carrying out a study to see if patients and their loved ones would be interested in learning more about the science of radiotherapy, with the aim of creating a series of resources to provide this information. I would also like to know how you would prefer to access these resources – I know that everybody learns differently, and I would like to make sure that any resources that I make are accessible to as many people as possible.
Attached are two questionnaires asking about your radiotherapy experience either as a patient or as a person who knows a cancer patient, if you would like to learn about the science of radiotherapy and, if so, how you would like to access the information. If you could fill it in, along with any of your own ideas and suggestions, that would be hugely appreciated. It is completely anonymous, although you do have an option to put down some details if you would like to be contacted about this work in the future. If you have any questions or you would like to discuss this with me further, please feel free to contact me by email –[email protected].