Radiation Therapy Ward

Visiting address
Comprehensive Cancer Center
Paciuksenkatu 3, Helsinki

Mailing address 
PO Box 180, 00029 HUS

Contact information
Office: +358 (0)9 471 73245
Fax: +358 (0)9 471 76181

Referrals and appointment booking: +358 (0)9 471 76180, 9.00 a.m. – 11.00 a.m.

Opening hours: 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

The radiation therapy ward at Helsinki University Hospital is the largest radiation therapy unit in Finland. The ward is responsible for all external radiation therapies administered in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS). The majority of the ward's patients come from the HUS hospital district, but the ward also accepts patients who require specialized care from other hospital districts. Patients are referred to the ward by their physician.

The radiation therapy ward is equipped to offer the following:
  • site-specific radiation therapy
  • intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
  • targeted radiotherapy (stereotactic radiation therapy)
  • internal radiation therapy
  • iodine seed implantation

The side effects of the treatment depend on the treatment site. In some cases, radiation therapy can be used in combination with cytotoxic drug treatment or targeted medication.

The planning stage of the treatment includes:
physician consultation

  • radiotherapy mold or mask fitting (depending on treatment site)
  • computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging to establish the target area and direct the treatment
  • planning of the radiation therapy dose and schedule

The treatment and schedule are tailored for each patient. The first radiation therapy session is usually scheduled a week or two after the initial physician's consultation. A single session including preparations usually takes around 10–20 minutes, but in some cases it can last up to an hour. Radiation therapy cannot be felt or seen, and it won't harm the persons accompanying the patient. The majority of the patients can leave the ward after the session.

The radiation therapy ward treats approximately 4000 patients each year, administering over 70,000 courses of treatment. On a typical day the ward treats 300–350 patients, most of whom can go home after the session. The radiation therapy ward offers both external and internal radiation therapy. Breast and prostate cancers are the most common cancer types treated on the ward.

The ward has 10 linear accelerators used for external beam radiation treatments, and it is also equipped to offer internal radiation therapy. For the planning of the treatments the ward has facilities for dose scheduling, computer and magnet simulators, devices for single-photon emission computed tomography and computed tomography (SPECT/CT), facilities for internal radiation therapy (brachytherapy), consultation rooms, facilities for fitting and making the molds and protective gear, as well as a medical equipment engineer's workshop. Administration of radiation therapy requires a multi-professional approach which involves physicians, physicists, radiographers, nurses, and secretaries. The ward also employs a medical equipment engineer.