As the nation unites to celebrate men’s health awareness month, The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre is entering the second phase of a clinical service which could revolutionise the way prostate cancer is treated.
The Merseyside-based cancer centre has been using a Brachytherapy Boost treatment for patients who have high risk prostate cancer. This combines two treatment methods: firstly, high dose rate brachytherapy - a method of treatment which involves inserting a series of catheters in to the prostate and using a single radioactive source programmed to target each catheter at a series of positions for varying lengths of time and secondly external bream radiotherapy, which directs high energy x-ray beams at the prostate gland from outside the body to damage the cancer cells and stop them growing.
Chris Lee, consultant clinical scientist and head of brachytherapy physics at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, commented; “This dual modality treatment has proved extremely successful to date as it gives patients the additional, highly targeted brachytherapy boost to help improve the chances of controlling the disease while at the same time reducing the dose delivered to the normal surrounding tissue.”
The Brachytherapy Boost treatment has recently had its first annual review and the promising results mean it can now be taken to the second phase, making the process readily available for an increasing number of patients.
One patient who has benefitted from this pioneering treatment is George Ireland, 69, from Woolton. He was diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer in November 2012 and was presented with the option of the Brachytherapy Boost.
One year on, George is now clear of cancer and he commented; “I read all of the information around the treatment and it was fully explained to me by the clinicians at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre. It just seemed like the best option as I wasn’t keen on undergoing radical surgery.
“I had my treatment in February this year and was pleasantly surprised at how pain-free it was. It didn’t feel like an ordeal at all and I’m so glad I chose this treatment as the results have been phenomenal. The nurses and clinicians were fantastic all the way through and I can’t praise them enough for the treatment they gave me.”
Chris Lee, continued; “The results of this treatment are very promising and George is just one example of the way in which it can change patients’ lives. We’re very happy to be moving this treatment to the next stage and hope that it becomes a standard of care across the UK over the coming years which could, in turn, benefit 100s of patients.”
This treatment highlights The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre’s commitment to staying at the forefront of the development of new treatments and techniques to benefit patients across the region. The introduction of the new Clatterbridge Cancer Centre site in central Liverpool will allow the centre to become involved in even more clinical trials and research due to its close proximity to the Royal Hospital and University of Liverpool.
In addition to Brachytherapy, The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre is also leading the way in a number of treatments which are suitable for male cancers. It remains one of the only places in the UK to offer Papillon treatment, a revolutionary radiotherapy technique developed for the treatment of rectal cancer. This was introduced in 1993 by Professor Arthur Sun Myint and means patients have a better quality of life as they don’t require major surgery.
To support the fight against cancer, the Action on Cancer campaign aims to keep local residents up to date over the coming months with the latest cancer-related news and plans to improve services over the coming years, including the new Clatterbridge Cancer Centre site in central Liverpool.