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Postgraduate radiography student Steven Landeg undertakes pioneering research on the use of ‘invisible tattoos’ in radiotherapy treatment.

Nurse and patient

Postgraduate therapeutic radiography student Steven Landeg, currently completing an MSc in Oncology Practice, is researching the use of invisible (rather than dark ink) tattoos in treating women undergoing radiotherapy for breast cancer.

His innovative research on fluorescent tattoos, only visible under UV light and leaving no permanent visible trace on the skin, has the potential to positively transform women’s self-esteem and body confidence following radiotherapy treatment.

Steven said, “Breast cancer treatment can be a very traumatic experience for patients and changes in body image can require significant psychological adjustment. Although many patients are indifferent about having radiotherapy tattoos, for others these often modest references can be a distressing addition to their already altered physical appearance, and serve as a permanent reminder of a difficult time in their lives. The breast radiotherapy study of invisible tattoos engaged with service users to understand the experience of radiotherapy tattoos. By developing and testing an alternative, it hopes to drive practice change to enhance the patient experience of breast radiotherapy.”

Steven recently presented his findings from the pilot study at the 2014 NCRI Cancer Conference, where it generated much interest.

Steven’s research will also be presented at the 3rd European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) Forum to be held in Barcelona in April 2015.

Kumud Titmarsh, who is supervising Steven’s research, said: “Steve’s research is pioneering in its use of fluorescent ink for radiotherapy tattoos, which are fundamental to ensure accuracy in external radiation beam treatments. His research is very exciting because it has the potential to change radiotherapy practice in the UK and internationally, which was evident when he was interviewed by a journalist in the USA”.

Steven is the operational superintendent radiographer at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

Further information about Steven’s research can be found here.