NNUH launches new £600,000 Targeted Radiotherapy Appeal

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust (NNUH) is appealing for help to raise £600,000 so it can treat more cancer patients with a type of radiotherapy which reduces treatment times and also means some patients can be treated closer to home.

The money raised through the Targeted Radiotherapy Appeal will be used to reconfigure some of the existing rooms in the Colney Centre, to provide state-of-the-art facilities for people undergoing internal radiotherapy, known as high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy. The new facilities will allow more patients to benefit from this treatment.

Standard radiotherapy uses radiation directed at the tumour from outside the body so that the radiation travels through normal tissue to get to the tumour. This means that some normal tissue may get damaged, although modern techniques aim to keep this to a minimum. Brachytherapy involves placing radioactive sources inside or near a tumour. As the radiation is delivered internally it does not have to pass through so much normal tissue, which reduces the long-term side effects. It also means the dose that tumours can receive is significantly higher, which in turn can improve cure rates and reduce treatment times.

HDR brachytherapy is mostly used to treat cervical cancer patients at NNUH and during 2011-12, 65 patients benefited from this. The new facilities will mean NNUH will become one of just a handful of hospital Trusts in the country offering HDR prostate brachytherapy. Currently, men living in Norfolk who need HDR prostate brachytherapy have to travel to London for treatment, so the new service lead by Dr Jenny Nobes will therefore also reduce travel for these patients.

Dr Tom Roques, NNUH Consultant Oncologist, said: “The new brachytherapy service will make a real difference for patients with some types of cancer. It will allow us to focus radiotherapy more accurately, particularly for some prostate cancer patients. This will hopefully lead to higher cure rates, less damage to surrounding organs and fewer repeat visits to hospital for treatment.”

Beth Coley, fundraising manager at the NNUH said: “Cancer touches the lives of so many people and we hope that everyone will get behind this appeal to help to make a real difference.”

To donate visit http://www.justgiving.com/NNUH-TargetedRadiotherapyAppeal

Notes for editors

At the moment, patients who require standard radiotherapy undergo a course of 37 treatments over seven and a half weeks. With brachytherapy, patients can have 15 treatments using standard radiotherapy, followed by one of brachytherapy, within four weeks.

Thursday 25th of October 2012 01:00:32 PM