SOUTHEND Hospital is leading the way with pioneering intense radiotherapy to cut treatment times for certain cancers. High dose radiation uses a miniature, highly active radiation source to precisely target the affected area of people suffering with skin, gynaecological, breast, oesophageal, and medium-risk prostate cancers. Soon, staff at the brachytherapy suite will be able to treat some rectal cancers too. Southend is one of only about ten centres in the UK – and the only one in Essex - to offer this high-tech treatment using a £150,000 nucletron machine. It means that cancer patients have shorter treatment times and some can be treated as outpatients. More typical radiotherapy from one of four linear accelerators at the hospital treat patients in 20 treatments but for some prostate cancer treatments it can be complete in five days with two doses a day. Consultant clinical scientist James Green, head of medical physics and radiotherapy, said: “This is a one step technique and can speed up treatment. “As a department we’re ahead of the game. We can treat small tumours very precisely in awkward places with less radiation affecting healthy tissue.”
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