A new major fundraising campaign has been launched by the Bath Cancer Unit Support Group to buy state-of-the-art radiotherapy equipment for treating patients at the RUH.
The charity, which funds vital medical equipment for the cancer unit at the hospital, needs to raise £580,000 by the end of 2024 to purchase two surface guided radiotherapy technology (SGRT) systems.
Surface guided radiotherapy can track a patient’s position with pinpoint accuracy during treatment.
This helps to ensure that radiation reaches exactly the right place while avoiding vital organs.
Patients receiving radiotherapy to the head can also wear an open-faced mask, which is less claustrophobic than a full-face one.
It is hoped that the new technology will help cut treatment times and waiting lists because SGRT reduces the need for repeat imaging.
It also removes the need for permanent marks on patients, unlike traditional radiotherapy which requires at least three small tattoos to position patients correctly.
This can have a negative psychological impact on patients because the marks are often a permanent reminder of their cancer treatment.
Instead, the SGRT system tracks the skin’s surface using special infrared 3D cameras to ensure patients are always in the correct position.
The radiation beam stops automatically if the patient moves, which makes it much safer than traditional treatment.
Lisa Tolson, Radiotherapy Service Manager at the RUH, said: “The prospect of having this new technology in our department is really exciting.
“We’re so thankful to the Bath Cancer Unit Support Group for making it the focus of their new fundraising campaign.
“Every year the number of cancer patients needing treatment at the RUH is increasing, so we are always looking at efficiencies while maintaining the very highest standards of healthcare so that patients have the best possible outcomes.
“This is exactly what surface guided radiotherapy technology provides.
“It will give reassurance that patients are receiving the right doses of radiation in exactly the right place, thereby ensuring their safety at all times.
“So please support the fundraising campaign and help ensure that patients at the RUH can benefit from this ground-breaking technology.”
BCUSG vice-chairman Sue Oliver has personal experience of radiotherapy treatment that leaves permanent marks.
She said: “For a woman who has had breast cancer, it’s a reminder every time I look in the mirror of the disease, my treatment and my fight against it.
“So, when we were asked to fund the two SGRT systems for the RUH, I supported it one hundred percent, not only because other patients won’t have to live with permanent markers, but also because the technology will allow healthcare professionals to position patients more accurately and target treatment more effectively.”
To donate to the Bath Cancer Unit Support Group’s new campaign, or discuss becoming a corporate partner, email Alan Webb at [email protected] or phone 07896 741233.