New equipment to benefit women with cancer
12 April 2018
Southend University Hospital is the first Trust in the country to use a £30,000 state-of the-art Venezia applicator for gynaecological cancer treatment.
It's only been made possible through the massive fundraising
efforts of several groups, including Rayleigh Lions who raised
£3,000, New Leaf Distribution added another £5,000, the Pickering
family raised £6,400 and the COPES (Cervical, Ovarian, Perineal,
Endometrial Support) gynaecological support group added a further
James Green, Head of Radiotherapy at Southend, said: "This
appeal money has bought us the very latest type of applicator for
gynaecological cancer, that is a far more effective treatment, and
which will be a huge benefit to around 20 patients a year."
The applicator benefits patients who previously would not have
been able to receive brachytherapy treatment - a form of
high-dose rate radiotherapy - in the past, by allowing
treatment to reach cancer which has spread away from the cervix and
which would have previously been inaccessible.
James added: "One of the things I find personally gratifying
about this kind of treatment is that, after each time we do a scan
on following days, we can see that the tumour has shrunk, and
that's quite a privilege as normally you see them getting better
over a period of months and years. You can see the tumour
responding before your very eyes."
In a recent study, cervical cancer patients who received
brachytherapy as a boost after external beam radiotherapy had a 12
per cent better four-year survival rate than those who did
not. And 3D image-guided brachytherapy was found to be beneficial
for patients with locally advanced cervical cancer.
Previously, the hospital's equipment only allowed the treatment
to be delivered within a limited distance from the patient's cervix
so that some women with more advanced cervical cancers had to be
referred to Mount Vernon Hospital in north London or be treated at
Southend with alternative but less effective means.
Wendy Davies, from COPES, one of the groups who helped raise
money for the new equipment which means that this is a thing
of the past, said: "The Venezia applicator will make a huge
difference, particularly to younger women who are diagnosed, in
terms of more effective and more comfortable treatment."