5 Minutes with Heather

Over the last year, we have very proudly extended the vital work of the charity to cancer units across Northern Ireland, helping to support more people across the province affected by cancer.

This has included supporting the Nuclear Medicine team at Craigavon Area Hospital with refurbishing their injection room. The nuclear medicine department at the hospital facilitates around 3000 scans per year, with a wide case mix of patients. We worked closely with the team to ensure that their patients’ needs were catered for, and the room is now a welcoming space for both patients and staff.

We caught up with Heather Neagle, Lead Radiographer, to find out more about her role and how the support of Friends of the Cancer Centre has helped the team.

What does your role involve?

“Working in Nuclear medicine, we use small amounts of radioactive materials called radiotracers. The radioactive materials are typically injected into the bloodstream, inhaled or swallowed, and are then detected to generate imagery of the inside of your body. In Nuclear Medicine we provide imagery and information which cannot be obtained through other procedures. This imagery is used to identify, evaluate and treat diseases, including cancers.

“With our workload in Nuclear Medicine ever increasing, we were finding that we simply didn’t have the room we needed. We were having to inform and prepare patients for procedures in difficult, cramped conditions, often in view of other staff members or the public. We approached Friends of the Cancer Centre for support to help us continue to provide this vital service for our patients.

How important is Friends of the Cancer Centre to your role?

“The support of the charity meant we were able to redevelop our injection room. This has created a dedicated, well equipped space which is both wheelchair and hospital bed accessible. This is, in turn, creating a safe, secure and appropriate environment, with more space, offering improved privacy and dignity for patients.

“Many of our patients invariably feel frightened at the prospect of radioactive investigations treatment. Through the investment from the charity, we can now support patients in the way they deserve and provide the care they need. They can discuss concerns, ask questions and be given reassurance before their treatment examination.

“We were delighted to be able to give back to Friends of the Cancer Centre, as some of the Nuclear Medicine team took part in the Slieve Donard Challenge last year, helping to raise vital funds for the charity.”

You can help us continue to support cancer services across Northern Ireland by taking part in our fundraising events. Find out more details on our ‘fundraise’ page: Our events – Friends of the Cancer Centre

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