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News archive - April/May 2012

Centres selected to host advanced radiotherapy

Centres selected to host advanced radiotherapy

AROUND 1,500 cancer patients a year are expected to benefit from Proton Beam Therapy, a cutting edge cancer treatment that will be available in London and Manchester within five years.

Up to £250m will be invested by the NHS in building Proton Beam Therapy facilities at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust hospital in Manchester and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The Department of Health has set aside public capital for this scheme.

Proton Beam Therapy is a type of radiotherapy that uses a precision high-energy beam of particles to destroy cancer cells. The treatment is particularly suitable for complex childhood cancers, increasing success rates and reducing side-effects, such as deafness, loss of IQ and secondary cancers.

Given the complex nature of the treatment and facilities, Proton Beam Therapy won’t be fully available in England until 2017. Until then, the NHS will continue to fund patients in need of Proton Beam Therapy to go abroad - either to Switzerland or the USA. By 2014/15 the NHS will be spending £30m per year sending up to 400 patients overseas.

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