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This content is taken from the Trinity College Dublin's online course, An Introduction to Radiation Oncology: From Diagnosis to Survivorship. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds During this online course, you will hear from both medical experts in radiation therapy and patients who really are best placed to inform you about what to expect from radiation therapy. You will meet Róisín and Julie, both former patients who have kindly agreed to share their own personal radiation therapy journeys. Julie McCrossin is an Australian based broadcaster and journalist who had radiation therapy as part of the management of her oropharyngeal or throat cancer. Róisín Whelan, an Irish based psychotherapist, had radiation therapy for cancer of the nasopharynx, or the upper part of the throat. Julie and Róisín experienced cancer at very different time points in their lives.

Skip to 0 minutes and 45 seconds Their experience shows that patients of any age may need radiation therapy as part of their cancer management strategy. Julie is a patient ambassador for Targeting Cancer in Australia and Róisín works with us here at Trinity College in Ireland, giving our students insight into the patient experience of radiation oncology. We are delighted to have Julie and Róisín to tell you their stories firsthand. My name is Róisín Whelan. I’m from Dublin. I work as a psychotherapist and I was diagnosed with cancer in 2003. I was sick for about a year, or two maybe, beforehand. I think I was showing signs of just– I was lethargic, a lot of pain in my throat, and my side of my face.

Skip to 1 minute and 32 seconds Eventually, a lump formed which was my gland swelling up, and I’d lost the hearing in my left ear as well. So all of those were a sign that something was going wrong and after about a year of kind of, I think, on and off of getting antibiotics and going to the doctor, and things like that, they eventually were able to pick up on a tumour in my nasopharynx. So I think the technical term is a nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Hello. My name is Julie McCrossin and just under two years ago, I was diagnosed with stage four throat cancer.

Skip to 2 minutes and 8 seconds I’m sitting in the room where I had my radiation treatment and I had cancer primarily in my tonsils, on the back of my tongue, and also on the side of my throat. Look, what was going through my head in the beginning was just a great concentration on what the clinical team– my two doctors, radiation oncologist and a surgeon, and the Allied Health Team and the nurses– were telling me, and a powerful desire to do exactly what they said. I was really lucky in that I was able to start treatment only about 10 days after diagnosis. I had treatment every day for a month.

Skip to 2 minutes and 47 seconds Radiation every day, and chemo once a week and I just very much concentrated on trying to do what I ever could– whatever I could to give myself the best chance.

Meet Róisín and Julie

Throughout the course we will be getting insights from two patient advocates, Róisín Whelan and Julie McCrossin and about their experiences of radiation therapy.

As Michelle mentions in the video, although you will be hearing from experts in the field of radiation therapy in this course, listening to patient experiences can help you better understand what the therapy entails.

Róisín Whelan
Róisín is a psychotherapist from Ireland, and found out she had nasopharyngeal cancer (upper part of the throat), when she was 18 years old. She was successfully treated with radiation therapy.
Róisín Whelan
Julie McCrossin
Julie is a journalist and broadcaster from Australia, and was diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer in mid 2013. She had cancer in her tonsils, the back of her tongue and the side of her throat. She was successfully treated with 30 sessions of radiation therapy and four sessions of chemotherapy.
Julie McCrossin

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This video is from the free online course:

An Introduction to Radiation Oncology: From Diagnosis to Survivorship

Trinity College Dublin