Since last summer, Lawrence Dallaglio has been fighting the government to fund a sophisticated radiotherapy treatment known as SABR. This treatment would allow patients to receive a course of 5 treatments rather than the 25 associated with standard radiotherapy. Dallaglio has been fighting for this treatment to be more widely available across the country, and had an agreement with top government officials to fund the clinical trials, but government cut backs meant the deal came to nothing.
But this treatment is available in Norfolk, thanks to Big C funding. In Spring 2011, Big C gave £21,411 for the development of SABR at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. This therapy focuses the radiotherapy beam very tightly on the tumour meaning it is more effective at killing cancer but also means patients suffer from fewer side effects because there is less damage to surrounding normal tissues. This was a hugely successful grant that has allowed the treatment of local people within their own areas, cutting the previous need to travel to Cambridgeshire.
SABR is mainly used in the treatment of lung cancer but there has been strong evidence to suggest its effectiveness against brain tumours and brain metastases (the spread of disease to another organ). It is hoped that as expertise in the technique improves, it may be used in other tumour sites.