Supporting excellence in radiotherapy

Monday, 25 January 2016

Walking through the doors of the Cancer Centre is a daunting experience, but every day nearly 1,000 patients take those difficult steps into the hospital to receive treatment.  The Cancer Centre is one of several local hospitals which offer chemotherapy, but it is the only hospital in Northern Ireland to currently provide radiotherapy and each day approximately 270 people undergo treatment in the hospital. 


That’s 1,350 radiotherapy treatments a week and a staggering 70,000 per year.


While nothing will make this time easier for patients, the good news is that the radiotherapy department at the Cancer Centre is one of the best and largest in the UK, with ten linear accelerators and a host of specialist staff who strive for excellence and positive outcomes for their patients.  Friends of the Cancer Centre is playing a vital role in this by supporting the work that takes place in the department through our funding of vital equipment, staff and training.  One such vital post funded by the charity is the Cancer Centre’s Research and Development Radiographer and we’re delighted to welcome Karen Crowther to the role this January. 


Welcoming Karen to the post, Colleen Shaw, Chief Executive of Friends of the Cancer Centre, said:


“Friends of the Cancer Centre is playing an increasingly important role within the Cancer Centre, supporting the excellence that already exists throughout the hospital.  We are currently funding a total of 31 members of staff and we’re delighted to welcome Karen as she takes up her Research and Development Radiographer post, a role that we what we have been proudly funding for over 10 years.


Karen, who brings 13 years of experience, will have a lead role in supporting continuous improvement and modernisation within the rapidly changing environment of the radiotherapy department. She will also focus on ensuring the radiotherapy department has the technical capability to support trials for local patients.  


Commenting on her new role, Karen said:


“When the post for the Research and Development Radiographer came along I jumped at the opportunity as not only was it a great next step in my career, but it was also an opportunity to contribute to the excellence that already exists in the department.


“While the Cancer Centre offers patients the latest treatments in radiotherapy, new techniques and developments in technology mean that radiotherapy is a constantly changing and evolving practice.  Therefore researching new and better ways to deliver radiotherapy is vital in ensuring that patients receive the best treatment.  Friends of the Cancer Centre has been funding this post for over 10 years and I’ve seen the great work that my colleagues have done before me.  I’m excited to follow in their footsteps and make my own contribution to the future of radiotherapy and I’m extremely grateful to Friends of the Cancer Centre and its supporters as without them, none of this would be possible.”


Not only is Friends of the Cancer Centre funding Karen’s vital post, but a large part of what the charity does focuses on supporting the excellence that exists in the radiotherapy department, including funding machinery, equipment, training and supporting the hospital’s award winning brachytherapy team.  Not only that, but the charity is also there for the thousands of patients coming through the department each year by supporting patient information nights, providing free magazines and newspapers, a kids play area for our young patients and much, much more. 


Joanne McCarthy, Radiotherapy Services Manager at the Cancer Centre, said:


“The radiotherapy department at the Cancer Centre aims to provide a patient centred, modern, safe, equitable and research driven radiotherapy service. The support of Friends of the Cancer Centre is hugely important in achieving this.  We already have a fantastic service with highly skilled, dedicated and motivated staff, but the support of the charity allows us to go that extra mile for our patients and Karen’s post is a great example of this. 


“We’re delighted that the charity will continue to fund this vital post as not only will it allow us to keep up to date with the latest techniques in radiotherapy, but also pioneer our own.”

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