Royal Derby team receives national award for patient-centred cancer treatment

The radiotherapy team at Royal Derby Hospital has won a national award for improving outcomes for more than a thousand cancer patients, through the use of surface-guided radiotherapy (SGRT).

The tattoo-free radiotherapy treatment won the Most Effective Contribution to Improving Cancer Outcomes award at the national Health Service Journal Partnership Awards on March 23, with the journal describing it as an excellent example of patient-centred care.

SGRT uses 3D stereo camera technology to ensure quicker and more accurate treatment down to the submillimetre and reduces potential cardiac side effects for those with left breast cancers. In addition, it removes the need for the use of the traditional tattooed dots on the surface of the skin, meaning patients are no longer left with permanent marks.

Around 1,200 breast patients have already benefitted from the SGRT treatment, which the radiotherapy team says can be ‘life-changing’.

Radiotherapy services manager Sue Marriott explained: “Not only are we delivering cancer treatment that is better targeted, with fewer side effects, we are removing the need for tattoos that can leave a huge psychological impact on patients as a permanent reminder of their cancer journey. This really is life-changing for some people.

“This type of radiotherapy is also contact-free, so it requires less manual handling of equipment and makes it easier for staff. It also actually speeds up the treatment process so we can treat more patients, more quickly.”

The next step for the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust is to roll the therapy out further. Principal treatment superintendent Lydia Kedziorek said: “We have had our patients at the heart of this since we started. Now we want to do more to try and expand our system even further so that we can use this really effective treatment for the benefit of more patients.”

Jessica Day is one of the patients who have been treated. She was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer four days before her 30th birthday and underwent 15 sessions of the treatment. She said: “It is not an easy thing to go through so I am glad that I wasn’t left with any lasting marks. The only thing that shows me that I have had radiotherapy is that it worked and that it has killed some of the cancer.”

Picture: Royal Derby Hospital’s radiotherapy team was recognised by Health Service Journal for its delivery of SGRT.

Published on page 8 of the June 2023 issue of RAD Magazine.

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