During your treatment you may meet lots of different members of the team. We all work together and share information to give you the best possible treatment.
A Radiation Oncologist is a doctor who has specialised in looking after patients with cancer, and treating cancer using radiation therapy. A Radiation Oncology Registrar is a doctor who is currently training to become a specialist.
These doctors will oversee your radiation therapy treatments. The radiation oncologist is responsible for assessing you and deciding whether radiation treatment is required, as well as the number of treatments needed. They work with other cancer specialists, like surgeons and medical oncologists (chemotherapy doctors), to come up with the best treatment plan for you. The radiation oncologist also works with the other members of the radiation treatment team to plan your treatment.
Your radiation oncologist will monitor your progress while you are having treatment and assess any side effects. After treatment has finished, you’ll have a follow up appointment and they’ll assess how you are. The radiation oncologist and the registrar work closely together.
Radiation therapists plan and deliver your radiation treatment. They will assess you before each treatment. Please let them know if you have any problems or difficulties. They can offer advice and/or contact other members of the treatment team if needed.
The radiation oncology nurses usually meet with you early in your treatment to discuss your health needs and how you can look after yourself during and after your treatment. They work closely with your doctors and radiation therapists to help you manage any side effects from treatment. They give medications and intravenous fluids when needed, dress your wounds, and offer assessments and advice. They can also contact Community Oncology Nurses if you need extra support at home.
Physicists play several important roles in the Radiation Treatment Department. They are involved in maintaining the treatment machines and work with the doctors and radiation therapists to achieve the best treatment plan for you. This means that sometimes they will be present at planning and treatment appointments.
Healthcare assistants help patients around the department and can help you get changed for treatment. They often help radiation therapists and nurses move patients from beds to the treatment couch and take care of people using the day beds in the Radiation Treatment Department.
A cancer diagnosis is not just a medical event, it brings with it changes to the way you and your family live your lives and experience the world. Our Oncology Social Workers can talk to you about the changes that your diagnosis has had on your life and support you to access services that can help you manage them.
They can also provide counselling and emotional support if you are feeling anxious, down or worried about your health, family or the future. If you would like to speak to an Oncology Social Worker, ask a member of your radiation treatment team to refer you.
Our reception staff welcome all patients and visitors to the Radiation Treatment department. They will check you in for your appointment and guide you to the part of the department you need to be in. Reception staff can help with booking appointments, travel and accommodation arrangements and updating your contact details in the hospital system. They also keep the refreshment counter well stocked for you to enjoy. If you are unsure about anything, feel free to ask at reception and they will be able to help you find the right person to talk to.
Dietitians are experts in food and nutrition. They can advise you and your family on what to eat throughout to maintain a healthy diet during your treatment.
Speech Language Therapist
A Speech Language Therapist (SLT) may see you during and after treatment. They will assess what support you need and can advise you on swallowing, voice quality and speech. They may give you exercises to perform.
Radiation Therapy Students
Wellington hospital is a training centre for students from the University of Otago. Radiation therapy students study for three-year years at the university and do on-the-job training. Usually, the Wellington Blood & Cancer Centre will have three students working in the department. They are easily recognisable by the University logo on their uniform. They are an important part of the radiation therapy team.
You may be asked if you are willing to have a student involved in your care. Although it is very helpful when students can be involved, you have the right to refuse student involvement at any time. Radiation therapy students are always directly supervised by a qualified radiation therapist and there will only ever be one student present at a time.