Radiotherapy can be incredibly frightening and traumatic for young patients. For those with brain, head and/or neck cancer, they require masks to hold their heads in position for targeted treatment. Since early 2021 we have been involved with a new initiative at The Royal Marsden Hospital, Sutton, which aims to reduce the anxieties of young children in treatment of head, brain and neck cancers by creating mini radiotherapy masks for their favourite toy. The mini masks and toys are then used to demonstrate what will happen during their treatment. Similar to the children’s own masks, our talented Spread Smile artist then hand-paints the mini masks with children’s choice of favourite superhero, TV character or their toy’s original features.
Laura Walter, Director of Services at Spread a Smile explains, “Personalising masks makes them less clinical and the radiotherapy process less frightening. They also help parents talk more openly with their children about their condition and help children to be more accepting of treatment. It’s an incredibly important part of Spread a Smile’s work “.