Cancer treatment that takes days not weeks
Technology that targets moving tumours
We offer cutting-edge, innovative cancer treatments to provide safe and effective care for our patients. We’re proud to be the first independent healthcare provider in the UK to introduce the MRIdian – an advanced MR linac. This world-class radiotherapy system is available at our centres in Oxford and Cromwell Hospital in London and can be accessed by patients throughout the UK.
MR linac technology combines high resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanning techniques with extremely powerful radiotherapy beams to treat tumours more accurately than conventional radiotherapy. This type of radiotherapy is called magnetic resonance image guided radiotherapy (MRIgRT).
The benefits of MRIdian
Real-time magnetic resonance imaging(MRI) means the MRIdian can show the exact position and shape of the tumour during treatment, so it can target radiation at the tumour precisely
Greater control and precision
The MRIdian is the only MR linac to have automated beam control, so if your tumour moves slightly, your treatment will automatically pause until it comes back into position
Reduced side effects
The MRIdian’s increased accuracy means the radiation beam is less likely to damage healthy tissue than conventional radiotherapy. Side effects occur when healthy tissue is damaged
With conventional radiotherapy, you may need up to 37 treatments. But with the MRIdian, the radiation is much more focused and you may only need five treatments
Who can benefit from the MRIdian?
More than 20,000* people worldwide have already benefitted from having been treated with the MRIdian. It is a promising treatment option for tumours near other major organs where limiting damage to healthy tissue is paramount or in organs that move a lot, for example, due to breathing. This makes the MRIdian suitable for:
Its precision at targeting small tumours makes the MRIdian useful where cancer has spread to other regions of the body (metastasised) and for the re-irradiation (retreating with radiation) of areas that have already received radiotherapy in the past.
To have treatment with an MR linac such as the MRIdian, you need to be suitable for both magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanning technology and radiotherapy.
Due to the advanced technology and precision accuracy of the MRIdian, treatment can be delivered over five alternate days. There’s also the option for patients undergoing MRIdian radiotherapy for prostate cancer to receive treatment over five consecutive days. Find out more about MRIdian prostate radiotherapy.
Enquire now about the MRIdian
The MRIdian is available at our centres in Oxford and Cromwell Hospital in London. Your cancer specialist can refer you for a consultation. We’re recognised by all major insurers and we’ll help you with transport depending on treatment and locations, when required.
What does MRIdian treatment involve?
Here is an outline of what to expect after your initial consultation and before, during and after your treatment. There are four stages to the process: simulation, planning, treatment and follow-up. Before your first appointment, your care team will call you to explain any preparation instructions you may need to follow in advance of your appointments and to answer any questions you may have.
This appointment will last for two to three hours and will involve a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan on the MRIdian and a separate computerised tomography (CT) scan. It will involve the following steps:
- Your radiographer will explain the process to you and ask you to fill in a safety questionnaire.
- You will be asked to change into a gown and remove any metal objects such as jewellery, hair clips, hearing aids, glasses or dentures.
- In the treatment room, you’ll be asked to lie on a couch where you will be placed in position.
- Soft pads will be placed over the area of your body being treated. These pads, called coils, help to produce high quality MRI images.
- We will fit you with earphones before your scan so you can listen to music (rather than the noise of the scanner). During the scan, which will last for around 20-30 minutes, you’ll be able to speak to the scanning team through an intercom.
- Your CT scan will be in a different room and is much quicker, lasting around 5-10 minutes. You will be placed in the same position as for your MRI scan.
- You can go home directly after your scans.
Over the next week or so, your consultant and care team will work together to create a MRIdian radiotherapy plan that is specific to you. You do not need to attend your GenesisCare Centre during this process as we use advanced computer technology to create your MRIdian radiotherapy plan.
Your treatment will take 45-60 minutes. We will talk to you through our intercom system regularly throughout your treatment and you can talk to us.
Before each treatment session, you’ll have a new MRI scan, which will be compared with your planning scans. Any movements of your tumour and internal organs will be taken into account and your treatment plan will be carefully adjusted and optimised to account for these changes. Sometimes you may feel the couch that you are lying on move slightly; this is just the treatment team placing you in the perfect position for your treatment.
You can go straight home after each treatment session. You’ll be given contact details for your care team so you can call if you’re worried about anything.
After your treatment course has finished, you will be referred back to your own doctor, together with all the information they need to plan any further treatment you need.
Seven to 10 days later: a member of your care team will call to see how you are feeling and answer any questions you may have
Four to six weeks later: you’ll attend a review with your consultant.
Long-term, we will continue to follow-up your recovery and wellbeing through doctor appointments, phone calls and mobile apps.
Side effects of MRIdian
With the MRIdian, side effects can be fewer and less prolonged** than with conventional radiotherapy.
For example, in the treatment of prostate cancer, short term side effects, lasting around three to four weeks include:
- Needing to pass urine urgently
- Discomfort on passing urine
- Loose and frequent bowel movements
- Feeling tired
Long-term side effects, which could last for years, may include:
- Difficulty getting or maintaining an erection
- Softer stool and passing urine more frequently,
- Rarely, narrowing of the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of your body, making it difficult to pass urine may occur as well as persistent bleeding from the back passage.
*20,000 patients treated worldwide with MRIdian as of April 2022.
** A study from VU* University Medical Centre in Amsterdam showed a low occurrence of gastrointestinal and urinary side effects in patient and clinician-reported outcomes.
Our MRIdian specialists
Your treatment will be provided by one of our leading consultants who are all specially trained to provide radiotherapy using the MRIdian. They’ll work with a team of consultants who are also experts in this kind of advanced radiotherapy to review your referral and create a personalised treatment plan tailored to your needs.
Dr John Conibear
MBBCh, BSc, MRCP, MSc, FRCR, MD(Res)
London Cromwell Hospital +1