A highly specialised cancer treatment, giving lung cancer patients an alternative to surgery, has treated its 100th patient.
Morag Wootton was the 100th patient to receive high dose targeted curative radiotherapy at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, which aims to target lung tumours in the early stages with high doses of radiotherapy delivered over a shorter period of time.
Morag was diagnosed in March after a CT scan, for another health issue, picked up the tumour in her lungs.
The 82-year-old said: “I originally came in for a deep vein thrombosis issue back in March and during the CT scan they found the tumour. No one wants to find anything in their lungs, but I was really lucky this was found so early.
“The cancer treatment is really easy for me. I just come in and lie down. I had no idea that this treatment was so new to the Trust and that I am the 100th patient, fame at last I guess!”
The cancer treatment, which started at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust two years ago, was implemented by a multi-disciplinary team in Oncology for those who are unable, or choose not to have an operation.
Lead consultant Dr Hannah Bainbridge said: “This is a treatment that we have been wanting to provide at Portsmouth for a while and we are thrilled that, with multi-disciplinary teamwork, we are able to bring the benefits of this treatment to our patients. For patients this means we can treat them locally, and we have improved outcomes versus conventional radiotherapy.”
Advanced Radiotherapy Practitioner Rowan Child added: “In the simplest of terms this treatment , which is usually done across 3 treatments a week with a maximum of 8 in total, is like a continuous boxing match with no time for the tumour to rest and grow any further. It can only be done with certain patients due to the high dosage, but it has proved really effective for those who are suitable.”
One such patient is 64-year-old Charlie Fletcher. His lung cancer was picked up in October last year after he took up the offer of a free lung check as part of the Targeted Lung Health Check in Portsmouth.
After his CT scan, which is offered as part of the programme to current and former smokers aged 55 to 74 year-olds, he was referred to the lung cancer service at Queen Alexandra Hospital and received the high dose curative radiotherapy in January this year.
He said: “Every staff member throughout the whole process has been brilliant and the aftercare I have received has been really good.
“Since my radiotherapy treatment I have had two 3-month scans and they have both shown good news.”
Charlie had no symptoms of lung cancer prior to his free lung health check.
He said: “The check really did save my life as I had no symptoms with my lung cancer and without it, the cancer would not have been caught so early.”
“It is a fantastic service and I would encourage anyone who gets a letter to go and get their free check.”
More than 9,000 residents across the city have had their free lung health check so far.
Of those scanned throughout the last 12 months, 100 have been referred to the lung cancer service and 80% of those diagnosed were found at Stage 1 and 2.
Prior to the programme only 38% were found at this earlier and more treatable stage.
All those invited have also been given support to stop smoking.
Dr Bainbridge added: “Having help to quit means you’re three times more likely to succeed.
“Anyone, whatever their age, can cut their risk of lung cancer by stopping smoking.”
For Portsmouth, call the Wellbeing service on 023 9229 4001, or for the surrounding areas call Smoke Free Hampshire on 01264 563 039 or text Quit to 66777.