Big C pledged £50,000 to the appeal by the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital for Targeted Radiotherapy. This aimed to bring a targeted treatment through a process of treatment called Brachytherapy. The target for this treatment was to be in place by 2015. Initially it was to be used to treat men with prostate cancer. The total appeal target was £600,000.
The £50,000 pledged by Big C went towards the following:
- £32,500 on a Flex focus Colour Doppler Mobile Ultrasound Scanner
- £15,000 for a Bi-Plane Rectla Transducer Probe
- £2,500 to be allocated to materials/activities directed towards improving patient experience
At the time patients had to travel to London and Cambridge. The money raised through the Targeted Radiotherapy Appeal (TRA) was used to build dedicated facilities so that the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital could deliver brachytherapy.
Treating Prostate Cancer
Up to 112 men are diagnosed with Prostate Cancer each day. One of the methods of treatment which is effective is targeted radiotherapy. Standard forms of radiotherapy often damage the cells surrounding the cancer during treatment. Targeted Radiotherapy through a treatment called Brachytherapy shortens the treatment time for prostate cancer from 7.5 weeks to 3 weeks. It also reduces the damage to surrounding cells through a placement of radioactive sources inside or near a tumour. As the radiation is delivered internally it doesn’t have to pass through so much normal tissue which results in reduction of long term side affects. This also means that the daily dose that patients can receive is significantly higher, therefore resulting in a reduced overall treatment schedule for the patient.
The service is currently only available with cervical cancer but the aim is to offer it to men with prostate cancer, and in time possibly for other cancers such as colon, oesophageal and lung.
Using this treatment can make an enormous difference to how people cope with their illness.
The new facilities will mean NNUH will be able to treat more patients and become one of just 10 NHS hospitals in the country offering prostate brachytherapy. Currently, men living in Norfolk who need prostate brachytherapy have to travel to Cambridge or London each time they need the treatment. The new service will therefore also reduce travel for these patients.
Dr Tom Roques, NNUH Consultant Oncologist, said: “The new brachytherapy service will mean a more effective treatment for some types of cancer and fewer repeat visits to hospital for treatment.”