The material helps to humanize cancer treatment and make the experience more peaceful for children
In order to make cancer treatments lighter and more playful for infant patients, the technician at Hospital do Coração, Karin Davis Almeida, personalizes the masks used in radiotherapy. The initiative appeared in 2018 and since then, other professionals in the field have embraced the action.
Radiotherapy is an important milestone in the lives of those who are fighting cancer. And conducting this procedure smoothly can have positive reactions in the patient’s condition. The purpose of masks in the treatment is to immobilize patients, so that the radiation is applied in the exact place.
When producing personalized versions, the team seeks to humanize this treatment period, which, according to the progress of the sessions, can be full of ups and downs – physical and emotional.
With children, this phase can be even worse. “When it comes to infant patients, radiotherapy is even more delicate, and some of them even need to be sedated. With the masks, we create a different story with each child and make a kind of commitment,” reported Karin Davis Almeida, in an interview for Folha Vitória.
Despite being very relevant, masks are not the only way to make care more humane. “Humanization is the right of every patient. I respect the child’s will very much and I believe that the emotional can impact the treatment”, concluded the technician.
Making the masks
Princesses, superheroes or characters from animated films and cartoons? Whatever the child wants! There is no standard or just pre-made options. On the day of the simulation for radiotherapy, the professional who will conduct the treatment talks to the little one to find out who his favorite character is and why.
After that, the customization phase of the mask begins. According to Karin, the process of knowing the character’s image, adapting, producing and finalizing the play takes between one to four days. Thus, in the first session, the patient is surprised by this gift, which he can even take home.
The stylization of the mask does not compromise the safety of the procedure. After all, the added items are made only with micropore and water-based paint. Other types of material can only be applied to parts that are not exposed to radiation.
What is radiotherapy and what are the side effects
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment done with radiation, in order to destroy a tumor or prevent its cells from proliferating. The radiation used is invisible and painless. However, they react differently in each patient, which may or may not cause side effects.
The intensity of these effects is according to the treatment dose, body part treated, extension of the irradiated area and type of radiation and device used. Symptoms usually appear between the second and third week of application, and disappear within a few weeks after the end of treatment. However, they can continue for longer.
The most common side effects of radiation therapy are:
But, they can vary depending on the treatment. For example: if the treated area is the face and neck, canker sores and pain when swallowing may appear. If it is in the pelvis area, the patient may experience pain when urinating.
It is necessary to be aware of all these effects, and hold weekly consultations to monitor and review the treatment.
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