Cervical cancer patients are receiving ‘first class’ treatment in south-east Scotland, thanks to new equipment being used by NHS Lothian.
Produced by Elekta, a leading innovator in precision radiation therapy solutions, the new kit could be crucial in saving lives across the country.
Around eight women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every day in the UK, and it is the most common cancer in women under 35.
Recently introduced brachytherapy equipment delivers a high dose of radiation directly to the tumor, while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue, directly targeting the cancer.
Dr Mark Zahra, Clinical Head of Radiotherapy at Edinburgh Cancer Centre, said: “This kit will help us continue to provide first class treatment for patients with cervical cancer.
“It gives us more options than our old brachytherapy equipment because it can treat larger tumors and increase the radiation dose to the tumor, while protecting normal organs.
“The Elekta kit is used with image-guided technology to really tailor treatment to the patient’s anatomy and needs and minimize the long-term health effects of radiation therapy,” he continued.
“Together, we expect these technologies to have a real impact on cure rates and patient comfort.
Over 99% of cervical cancers are caused by HPV, which is very common. Around four in five people in Scotland will have it in their lifetime.
An excellent tool in the fight against cervical cancer is the HPV vaccine. It is offered to all S1 students and helps prevent around 75% of cases of cervical cancer.
However, research from Public Health Scotland shows certain demographics are less likely to show up for cervical screenings.
Those aged 25 to 34, women living in very deprived areas and women with physical or learning disabilities are all listed as groups who cannot attend screenings.
Also included on the list are black or minority ethnic women, lesbian and bisexual women, as well as trans men and non-binary people designated as female at birth.
Barriers such as lack of transportation, limited awareness of the benefits of the test, and anxiety about the procedure itself are all cited as possible reasons for skipping screenings.
The new technology will be used for all eligible patients in South East Scotland with gynecological cancers.
Dr Zahra added: “Edinburgh Cancer Center is a leader in innovative treatments and advances such as these would not have been possible without a huge team effort.
“We strive to provide the best care possible and share our research and learnings to help improve outcomes for patients around the world.”