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New high precision equipment at Cancer Centre London (CCL) has removed the need for permanent tattoo markings on patients prior to radiotherapy treatment.
Historically, tattoo markings have been the only way to accurately position patients for treatment. Before radiotherapy treatment can begin, patients have a CT scan, which allows treatment to be planned. They are then tattooed with small dots to allow accurate positioning for that treatment to begin.
For many women, these radiotherapy tattoos are a constant and permanent reminder of their treatment and can be psychologically damaging. Tattoos are also problematic for people whose religious beliefs do not permit permanent ink to be marked onto the skin.
Now however, for patients at CCL, a relatively new optical monitoring system called ‘AlignRT’ can provide a different method of positioning the patient, which does not rely on tattoos.
The AlignRT system tracks the patient’s skin surface in real time using 3D camera technology. Using the external skin surface, the technology monitors movement and knows exactly where the patient is at any moment during treatment delivery, to within a fraction of a millimetre.
Keisha Robinson, Head of Radiotherapy and Quality at CCL, said:
“We’re always looking to improve patient experience at CCL and we’re very pleased to be using the new AlignRT system to offer tattoo-less radiotherapy. This technology allows us to apply radiation treatment in a highly targeted manner without needing to permanently mark the patient to deliver the treatment. Further, the AlignRT system is used for live monitoring during treatment delivery.
All of this is incredibly positive and is likely to result in stronger health outcomes for the patient both physically and psychologically. They can move on with their lives without a constant physical reminder of what they have gone through.”
All patients referred for radiotherapy at CCL will have the option to use the new tattoo-less technology. Our expert radiotherapy team will discuss the procedure with all patients beforehand.