Images taken from one of the animations, copyright Explain My Procedure

Patients diagnosed with prostate cancer can find out more about their condition and how to prepare for radiotherapy treatment through two new animations produced for East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust.

The first animation explains more about prostate cancer and how radiotherapy treatment may impact a patient, what to expect during treatment, as well as other treatment options available.

The second animation helps share details about how to prepare for radiotherapy and explains why drinking a certain amount of water before your appointment is important. It also covers a number of other complex issues relevant to patients in their preparation for treatment. 

Having the correct amount of fluid in the bladder is important, and difficulties with some of the other more complex requirements of the appointment can cause delays in starting radiotherapy treatment.

It’s hoped the short ‘Explain My Procedure’ animations will help explain what patients need to do and why it’s important.

Tracy Cruttenden is a Macmillan advanced radiotherapy practitioner at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust. She said: “We are hoping these animations will really help our patients understand what is a complex set of instructions when they have treatment, but more importantly provide them with information that is instrumental in their decision making process regarding treatment.

“They’re designed to enhance information and facilitate shared decision making.

A patient, who wishes to remain anonymous, but who has received treatment and seen the animations said: “If only I had seen the animation before my treatment, it would have allayed much of my anxiety which manifested in feelings of anger and guilt to sadness and failure. 

“Understanding the bladder and bowel preparation would have been so beneficial alongside the written information - as they say, a picture paints a thousand words.

The animations have been funded by Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity. 

Mandy Jordan, associate director for charities and voluntary services at ESNEFT, said: “We hope these films will help support patients in their forthcoming treatment and explain more around the guidance they need to follow to ensure radiotherapy is as successful as possible.

“We’re grateful for all our charity donations, and being able to fund projects such as this has a direct impact on patients and their care, which is so positive for our patients and community.”

A short version of one of the animations is available online.

Symptoms of prostate cancer can be an increased need to wee, straining while weeing or feeling like your bladder hasn’t emptied. More information is available on the NHS website.

Images taken from one of the animations, copyright Explain My Procedure