New Radiotherapy Treatment for cancer patients

15 Oct 2021, 10:55 a.m.

Bringing to life our Centres of Excellence vision with new SABR treatment for cancer patients

Cheltenham General Hospital’s radiotherapy department has treated its first cancer patients using Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SABR), which is a new form of radiotherapy that uses multiple, highly focused beams of radiation to treat certain types of cancer.

Radiotherapy is used to treat cancerous tumours in almost any part of the body, using high-energy radiation, usually x-rays. It stops cancer cells from dividing properly and, as a result, destroys them.

SABR is most often used on small, well-defined tumours; multiple beams are directed from different angles that meet at the tumour. This means that the tumour gets a high dose of radiation while surrounding healthy tissues get a much lower dose from the individual beams, which lowers the risk of damage to normal cells. 

Its high precision and accuracy mean that SABR can be delivered over fewer treatments than standard radiotherapy because it uses a higher dose of radiation per treatment. With standard radiotherapy, patients may have 20 to 30 treatments, but SABR can be delivered over an average of just five treatments, meaning that fewer hospital visits are required. 

The new SABR therapy is being delivered using the existing Linear Accelerators (LINACs) at Cheltenham’s radiotherapy department.

Radiotherapy Services Manager Bridget Moore says:

“We’re excited to offer this new treatment to cancer patients in Gloucestershire who meet the particular criteria. We have a group of specially trained radiographers, physicists and clinical oncologists dedicated to delivering this ground-breaking treatment.

“As well as needing fewer hospital visits, patients who have SABR treatment have also been found to have fewer side effects. It has been found to be particularly effective in treatment for lung cancer and there are currently national trials being run at Cheltenham looking into its use in prostate cancer as well.”

Consultant Clinical Oncologist and Radiotherapy Clinical Lead Jessica Bailey explains:

“The introduction of SABR at Cheltenham is part of an NHS England initiative to roll out this novel type of radiotherapy to all centres. We are delighted that we can now offer this treatment locally, rather than patients needing to travel to other radiotherapy centres in the South West and West Midlands.

“Huge congratulations and thanks to our physics, radiotherapy and oncology teams.”

Chief Executive Deborah Lee commented:

“As part of our Fit for the Future strategy we have committed to developing Cheltenham General Hospital as a Centre of Excellence for planned and specialist care such as this and this is a great example of us bringing this pledge to life. We're always looking at ways to further improve the care we provide, and I'd like to thank the team at Gloucestershire Hospitals who have worked so hard to ensure we can deliver this world-class treatment to our patients.”

We are delighted that we can now offer this treatment locally, rather than patients needing to travel to other radiotherapy centres in the South West and West Midlands.

Consultant Clinical Oncologist and Radiotherapy Clinical Lead Jessica Bailey
BEST CARE FOR EVERYONE