Patients to benefit from £300,000 investment in advanced Radiotherapy services at NNUH

Hundreds more cancer patients every year will benefit from the expansion of state-of-the-art radiotherapy at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), thanks to a £300,000 grant from the Radiotherapy Innovation Fund.

The hospital bid for a share of the government’s £23 million fund last year and was granted £312,776 to purchase new equipment and software which will enable the hospital to treat up to 500 more patients with Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT), an advanced form of radiotherapy treatment.

IMRT is a form of radiotherapy which varies the intensity of radiation aimed at a cancerous tumour. This means higher doses of radiation can be targeted towards the tumour whilst minimising the damage to the tissues surrounding it. In August 2012, fewer than 14% of patients receiving radiotherapy nationally were given IMRT. By April 2013 that figure had risen to over 22%. Whilst not all types of cancer can benefit from IMRT, it is suitable for a variety of different cancers including many breast and prostate tumours. Currently 34% of all patients having curative radiotherapy at NNUH are offered this treatment and this investment will mean even more patients will be able to access this advanced treatment.

Jo Segasby, Director of Women’s, Children’s and Cancer Services at NNUH said: “We started offering IMRT at the hospital in 2005 and have since increased the number of patients who can benefit from this type of radiotherapy. The funding has been used to buy new equipment and software which will help us to deliver higher doses of radiation to the tumour whilst sparing normal tissue, and ultimately will give our patients better outcomes.”

Consultant Oncologist and Clinical Director for Oncology and Palliative Care, Dr Tom Roques, said: “Going through cancer treatment is a very difficult time in a person’s life and we want to offer our patients the highest quality care possible. This funding has enabled us to offer state-of-the art forms of treatment and is fantastic news for people living in Norfolk and Suffolk.”

Mark Vass, 49, from Dereham is currently being treated for a type of head and neck cancer. He has undergone three cycles of chemotherapy followed by six weeks of intensity modulated radiotherapy combined with chemotherapy once a week.

Mark said: “My consultant, Tom Roques, explained the treatment options to me and me what to expect. Luckily the chemo went really well and although I did have side effects from the radiotherapy, I am so fortunate that I was able to have this treatment. I was happy to go with what my doctor suggested and it’s gone brilliantly, so this extra funding is great news if it means it will help other cancer patients.”

He added: “All of the staff have been fantastic and Dr Roques has been brilliant throughout my treatment.”

Notes for editors

Research suggests that radiotherapy is second only to surgery in beating cancer, around four in ten patients whose cancer is cured receive radiotherapy as part of their treatment. Cancers benefiting from advanced radiotherapy that this fund has helped facilitate include prostate, head and neck, and lung tumours.

Thursday 25th of July 2013 05:00:58 PM