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Global IT outage update - Monday 22 July

The issues affecting the supplier that provides our chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments have now been resolved.

We want to thank our patients for being understanding and bearing with us and we apologise for any delays caused by this. Unless our teams contact you, please attend your appointment as planned. Throughout this incident, we have prioritised the most clinically urgent patients.

The Christie provides care and treatment for hundreds of people every day. The global IT outage last Friday (19 July 2024) affected many organisations but to put it into context, this affected less than a third of our patients.

Our staff have worked tirelessly over the weekend to deliver as many chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments as possible and continue to do so to catch up on rescheduled treatments this week.

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Radiotherapy pre-treatment

Planning or pre-treatment is the process of obtaining relevant information about the size area and shape of the area of the body being treated. This is most commonly performed using a CT scan, to obtain 3D images of the patient, which are used to create individualised radiotherapy plans which allow the treatment prescription to be written.

Depending on what area is being treated, there are several different processes and types of equipment used to prepare and plan treatment. Many of the procedures can be carried out any of our radiotherapy centres. However, some procedures may be limited to our Withington site only.

A radiotherapy planning CT scan is slightly different to a regular diagnostic CT scan. It allows radiographers to obtain 3D images of the area being treated in order to create individualised radiotherapy plans. 

The scan itself will normally take between 10 to 15 minutes. However, sometimes there may be additional preparation for your scan which can mean that the appointment may last up to 2 hours. A few patients will require an injection of a contrast agent (IV contrast) and some patients will need to drink a liquid before the scan (oral contrast), these help highlight important areas the doctors may want to treat or avoid.

During the planning procedure, measurements will be taken for your radiotherapy record. During this process it will be necessary to place small marks, on your skin using a felt tip-type pen. At the end of the process, these marks will be made permanent, with your permission, by tattooing a small dot. This is so that prior to and during treatment you will be able to wash as normal without losing the marks. 

Depending on the area being treated with radiotherapy, positron emission tomography (PET) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans may also be required for the planning of your treatment.

These are often performed by our colleagues in the diagnostic radiology departments and you will either be taken to these departments or contacted separately in order to arrange appointments.

For some treatment types or areas it may be necessary to have a device called a ‘shell’ or ‘mask’. This is used to keep mobile areas such as the head and neck area or limbs stable and still throughout treatment. 

The process of making these will differ depending on what area of the body is being treated, when you arrive the staff will explain the procedure fully before starting and answer any questions you may have.

These appointments can vary from around 15 to 45 minutes and although they are often performed on the same day as your CT planning scan, on occasion you may be required to attend for a separate appointment. 

Last updated: May 2023