The state-of-the-art cancer treatment, stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) in use for cancer patients at The James Cook University Hospital has reached a milestone.
The department was one of the first in the UK to develop a SABR service back in 2009 and is one on the leading radiotherapy centres in UK, offering some of the most advanced treatment to patients in the region. The current cohort of patients being treated includes the 200th.
The technique uses the latest developments in radiotherapy technology from Elekta using a linear accelerator to deliver very high doses of radiation to tumours in the chest with millimetre precision.
Long Newton pensioner Mrs Min Jackman is one of the current cohort of patients and the 83 year-old is very impressed with the service. “I had been treated for colon cancer two years ago but now I’ve got a cancer in my lung even though I’m not a smoker. The piece they found this time is only 1.5cms long.
“When I first came I laid on a ‘bean bag’ which was sculptured to my body shape and each time I come in now I lie in my sculptured bag which holds me very still while the 15-minute procedure takes place. Just lying there for that time while the machine does what it has to do, is a very calming experience. ”
The department won the HSJ Efficiency Award in 2013 for the pioneering work involved with SABR and prides itself in its technological approach. By maximising the dose to the tumour, the risk of damaging surrounding normal tissues in minimised, increasing cure rates for patients as well as reducing side effects.
Min added: “I’m half way through my treatment and attend every other weekday. I’ve had no side effects and the staff have been excellent. Everybody’s very kind and considerate.”
Clinical lead for the SABR programme, Dr Clive Peedell, said: “We’re one of the leading centres in the UK and can now deliver extremely high doses of radiation to tumours in the chest with very high precision. Tumour control has been achieved in over 95% of the cases and side effects are minimal.
“As well as being more effective than conventional radiotherapy, SABR is also much more convenient for patients as it requires fewer visits. It is typically delivered in three to five treatments compared to the 20-30 treatments of conventional radiotherapy.”