The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

'Little Linacs' help young patients with cancer treatment

22 January 2019

Children undergoing cancer therapy at Leeds Children's Hospital are being given toy models of the linear acceleration machine (linac for short) used in their treatment to help ease their anxiety.

The 'Little Linacs' help normalise the experience in a way that's creative and fun by allowing children to see and understand what the machine looks like and how it moves around them during their treatment.

This is a fantastic addition to the great work done every day by the Leeds children and teenage radiotherapy team who go out of their way to deliver an experience that really puts their young patients first.

The Little Linac project was the brainchild of Professor David Brettle, who is Head of Medical Physics and Engineering here at the Trust.

He said: “Toy bricks are every child’s favourite toy and are an ideal way to educate young patients about their treatment in a way that is designed to reduce their stress and anxiety.

“After their treatment is over, my challenge to the children is to use the bricks to make something very different: a rocket, a rabbit, a robot, as part of their transition back to a more normal life.”

The Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM), who funded the toys, wants to give every child in the UK undergoing radiotherapy treatment for cancer a free kit to help them during their treatment.

Kits may be purchased by anyone by placing an order via the link below. Every Little Linac model that is sold will enable IPEM to donate two more kits to children undergoing radiotherapy treatment for cancer.

Pictured is seven year-old William and his family.

Picture courtesy of SWNS.