Thermoplastic mesh mask made for a child used to hold their head in a fixed position during radiotherapy treatment, decorated with the imagery of Batman, made at Leeds Children Hospital and decorated by Lobke Marsden, United Kingdom, 2018
To help young people undergoing treatment at Leeds Children’s Hospital feel more comfortable and braver, play specialist Lobke Marsden, started painting the normally plain white radiotherapy masks with any design a child chooses. Popular designs include Batman, Iron Man and My Little Pony Marsden. Lobke came up with the idea several years ago when she looked online and saw a hospital in the United States doing something similar and centres across the NHS also offer this service. The paints are specially tested before being used to ensure they are safe for those wearing the masks, while having treatment.
For anyone undergoing radiotherapy for head and neck cancer, the prospect of being held in place by a close-fitting mask, attached to a bed is daunting. It is essential that they do not move, so the radiotherapy can accurately target their cancer, doing the least damage to the surrounding cells. The machinery is massive and noisy, and they are totally alone to prevent radiation impacting the operators of the machines.