Colleagues from Rosemere Cancer Centre, part of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, have been asked to be part of a specialist panel at the 2023 Annual Meeting of the Surface Guided Radiotherapy Treatment (SGRT) Community in December at County Hall, London.
Speaking at the two-day conference, SGRT Europe: A new view of SGRT, will be Lisa Laws, Principal Radiographer, and Lisa Telford, Team Leader, on ‘Successful implementation of SGRT: patient benefits and staff satisfaction from a radiographer’s perspective.’
The invitation to appear on the special panel comes almost a year after the revolutionary Surface Guided Radiotherapy treatment was installed at Rosemere, funded by the Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Guiding Light Appeal, at a cost of £1.3 million.
SGRT’s arrival made Rosemere only the second cancer centre in the Northwest, following The Christie in Manchester, to provide the treatment, and only the 15th of the UK’s total 65 specialist cancer centres.
In January, Blackpool school support worker Anita Brown (68) was the very first patient to start and complete a course of radiotherapy treatment using the new kit after she was diagnosed with breast cancer last August after a routine mammogram.
From May, the team was able to offer all breast patients treatment without permanent tattoo marks, and in September, the treatment was expanded to thorax patients, with the hope that all radiotherapy patients, across all the treatment sites – breast, thorax, pelvis, head and neck, brain, palliative - will have moved over to SGRT by the middle of next year.
With SGRT, there are no tattoos, and it reduces the need for closed face masks. If a patient moves at all, the radiation beam will automatically stop, reducing the risk of potential damage to healthy cells and preventing sub optimal dosage to the treatment area.
The near infra-red guiding light system pinpoints with sub-mm accuracy where the radiation beam needs to be delivered, increasing the accuracy of treatment positioning and delivery, reducing the number of positioning scans needed, and therefore additional radiation exposure.
Principal Radiographer, Lisa Laws, looked back on a remarkable 12 months: “We started installing the SGRT equipment in October last year and in January treated our first breast patient. By May we moved all the breast patients on to SGRT and removed all the permanent tattoos, which can be a physical reminder for patients of treatment, and it is invasive procedure.”
“It’s been amazing for our breast patients, and from September, we treated our first few thorax patients using SGRT, with a very similar premise.”
Lisa explained how the treatment works: “The system helps you set up and monitor the patient during treatment, and if they move, it automatically cuts off the radiation. When we treat the left side for breast patients, the heart is underneath, and the treatment glances the back of the breast, so we can do something called breath hold, where the patient breathes in and holds their breath, and the radiation only delivers when they breathe in, because that moves the breast away from the heart and minimises the heart dose. When they breathe out, the treatment delivery stops.”
“We also have the capability for lung patients to do a capture of their breathing cycle and using that allows us to treat the patient, taking into consideration how they breathe.”
“It’s been brilliant for reducing the amount we have to move patients manually, which is good for the dignity of patients. It means the patient’s position is more reproduceable, which ultimately leads to better outcomes and fewer side effects.”