First dig for new Radiotherapy Centre at NNUH

A member of the public has won the opportunity to operate an earthmoving machine and make the first dig for the new radiotherapy centre at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The first dig took place today (20th November 2012) marking the start of the construction of the new radiotherapy centre which is being funded by the Trust with an investment of £4.5m over the next four years. It will house treatment areas and two more linear accelerators, boosting the hospital’s capacity to provide radiotherapy which uses high energy x-rays to treat cancer.

Peter Witthames, from Plumtrees in Oulton Broad, whose wife Susan is a patient at the hospital, won the competition which raised over £800 towards the Targeted Radiotherapy Appeal. The appeal aims to raise £600,000 to provide state-of-the-art facilities for people undergoing internal radiotherapy, known as high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy.

The new facilities for brachytherapy 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.

The new radiotherapy centre and the Targeted Radiotherapy Appeal are two parts of a plan which will help NNUH keep up with the demand for cancer treatment and enable it to provide specialised treatment for prostate and cervical cancer using brachytherapy.

Dr Jenny Nobes, Consultant Oncologist at NNUH, says: “We are delighted to see the construction of the new radiotherapy centre get underway and we will see patients benefitting from this new facility in a year’s time.”

Notes to editors

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.

Tuesday 20th of November 2012 03:00:49 PM