VIDEO: Sheffield actress shares cancer hospital story to reassure fellow patients

Neil Riley, deputy chief executive at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, actress Rita May and Dr Simon Pledge, lead clinician for radiation services
Neil Riley, deputy chief executive at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, actress Rita May and Dr Simon Pledge, lead clinician for radiation services
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Sheffield actress Rita May has shared her experiences of radiotherapy treatment at Weston Park Hospital in a new video.

Rita, who played Connie Rathbone in Coronation Street, provides a familiar voice for the video, which has been created to reassure cancer patients who are to undergo radiotherapy treatment for the first time.

The two-and-a-half minute video is focused around the Weston Park radiotherapy department and aims to dispel myths and lessen anxieties of patients through Rita’s own personal experience of the facility.

Rita, who had breast cancer, tells the story of her journey from the moment she apprehensively walks into Weston Park, to the first time she has treatment.

She said: “Radiotherapy is a bit of a mystery.

“I’d got thoughts of a laser-like beam zooming down my breast like Star Wars.

“Nothing like it. After a few measurements the radiotherapist left. I lay there a few minutes, and then they came and said it was all done. I didn’t even know we’d started.

“The staff were so fantastic, so professional. As a patient you like to feel you are in safe hands, and the staff here do that.”

Radiotherapy involves the use of high-energy radiation and is commonly used to treat cancer as part of a treatment plan.

The video was the idea of Lucie Martin, a Macmillan radiotherapy awareness project specialist who worked for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals until September 2014.

It was put together with the support of students from Sheffield Hallam University.

Nicki Lee, a clinical specialist radiographer at Weston Park, said: “It’s natural for patients to feel apprehensive about coming in for radiotherapy treatment, what it involves and what it is to come.

“Using the familiar voice of Rita talking openly as a recent patient at Weston Park Hospital and a simple animation style, this video aims to challenge the negative perceptions about radiotherapy and what it is like to be treated at a specialist cancer hospital such as Weston Park Hospital so they can better prepare for their visit.”