Radiotherapy starts with having a Mould (or Nest) made to accuratley locate the area to be treated.
In my case a full length leg mould was made over 2 visits to University College Hosopital London
At the same time the technicians are making the mould they tatoo small dots on to the leg in various positions. These dots are used to ensure accurate line up when the radiotheraphy is administered. The radiotheraphay machine uses lasers in 3 planes (X,Y,Z) to ensure that the leg is located in the same position for each visit to an accuracy of about 2mm
This is the actual mould used for my treatment. Althought the mould looks pretty crude it locates the leg very accuratley. It is made from polystyrene foam and quick setting foam for the final fitting.
The light blue bits are the clamps which go over the knee (top) and foot (bottom) these are made from a plastic sheet which is pliable at water boiling point and are moulded over the knee and foot to ensure a snug fit when clamped in place.
You will see on the light blue bits some white tape with dotted lines penciled on. These are the lines used inconjunction with tatoo dots on my leg for the laser line up.
After the mould is complete it is used to take a CT scan of the leg in order the the Consultant Oncologist and the treatment team can plan the radiotheraphy treatment
The whole mould is located on the Radiotherapy machine using pins. Once located, I laid on the table and my leg was clamped in place. The technicians then checked alignment using the laser system. Most days some minor manual re-alignment was required to get my leg in the correct position.
My Radiotheraphy treatment consisted of a 10 second blast from one side of my leg followed by another 10 second blast from another angle. I had 25 sessions (Monday to Friday) over a five week period starting 18th Aug 2011 and finishing 22nd Sept 2011. This meant travelling by train from Tiptree to UCHL each day. This sounds horendous but in actual fact just became part of my day.
Next post !!! An idiots guide to how radiotherapy works in the very simplest of terms