New advanced technology at the NNUH to treat skin cancer
Patients with certain skin cancers are being treated with a new piece of specialist radiotherapy equipment with advanced technology for cancers on and close to the surface of the skin.
The Xstrahl radiotherapy unit adds to the comprehensive range of treatment techniques on offer to patients with Cancer in Norfolk. NNUH is at the forefront of treating those with cancer and is t he only centre in Norfolk to offer this type of treatment. .
The new specialist equipment offers a dedicated treatment environment for the vast majority of skin cancer patients who require radiotherapy. It has the benefit of being able to treat patients with superficial X-Rays, which only penetrate a few millimetres into the skin, and is very suitable for early skin cancers. It is particularly useful for treating skin tumours around the eyes and nose, because it avoids causing any unnecessary damage to normal tissues by treating a very small area.
Dr Jenny Nobes, NNUH Consultant Clinical Oncologist commented: “We are really pleased to be able to offer this new treatment service to our patients. The machine is especially suited to tumours on the face where the treatment and repair of the skin is especially delicate as well as reducing the need for patients to undergo surgery. This is an excellent addition to our world class cancer services.”
Previously some patients may have had to receive treatment whilst lying flat on a treatment couch which can be uncomfortable for patients whilst wearing a large mask to limit mobility of the head during treatment. The new machine will allow patients to be treated in the comfort of a chair or even their own wheelchair and wearing a very small mask if at all.
The new equipment allows the Norfolk cancer centre, one of the busiest in the UK, to treat more patients as well as treat patients without the need for surgery.
Patient, Nora Keane, known locally as Maureen, 72 from Wroxham is benefiting from this new type of treatment. Maureen has skin cancer positioned on the tip of her nose and was referred to the NNUH dermatology team by her GP.
“This is my first ever diagnosis and hearing the words can be quite frightening.” explained Maureen; “I was presented with two options of treatment, either this radiotherapy machine or surgery. By choosing the new machine it is was quicker, minimal risk of infection and most importantly no knife involved!”
Maureen will undergo five fractions (treatments) each lasting five minutes over the course of five days before returning for a follow up appointment the next week.