A new £2.5million linear accelerator at The James Cook University Hospital is now providing leading edge radiotherapy.
Linear accelerators produce high-energy x-rays or electrons, directed to the patient’s tumour precisely following their treatment plan. High-tech x-ray images are taken which are then used to plan and personalise each patient’s radiotherapy treatment.
With millimetre accuracy, they target the tumour and minimise the dose to the ‘normal’ tissues that surround the tumour.
Brenda Smart was the first patient to receive her radiotherapy from the new replacement linear accelerator.
The 82-year-old from Middlesbrough was asked if she’d like to be the first patient to be treated using the new machine when she attended for radiotherapy to treat a lung tumour.
She said: “They got me in it, and I was fine, I wasn’t even frightened. I said just tell me what to do and if I can I’ll do it. The staff were brilliant with me.”
Following her treatment Brenda was asked back to James Cook to officially open the new piece of equipment.
She added: “It made my day to be asked to come and officially opened it, I was over the moon they asked me to do that.”
Claire Huntley, radiotherapy clinical lead, said: “It was lovely to have Brenda back to cut the ribbon to officially open the new LINAC; our patients are at the centre of all we do and it was great to have her share the moment with us.”
Pioneering work in tackling cancer
At the formal opening, Mike Stewart, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s chief medical officer, thanked patients and their families for entrusting the James Cook Cancer Institute with their care.
He added: “It is because of their bravery and resilience that we can continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible in cancer treatment.
“The formal opening of this new replacement LINAC represents another step forward in the team’s ability to provide the best possible cancer treatment to our patients.”
Mike also thanked all the staff involved in the linear replacement. He said: “Their hard work and dedication has made this moment possible. This achievement, amongst others, is a testament to the hard work, dedication and commitment that each and every member of staff continues to show.”
The replacement comes just a year after the Middlesbrough team received exceptional feedback from the Care Quality Commission as part of its (IR(ME)R) inspection programme.
“I am incredibly proud of all that the team has accomplished together and I am excited to see what the future holds for the James Cook Cancer Institute,” added Mike.