Patients in Lincolnshire who have non-melanoma skin cancer are benefiting from a new technique at Lincoln County Hospital – the first of its kind in the UK.
The new brachytherapy treatment, which is quicker than old methods and protects healthy tissue, is delivered in five to eight sessions over a two to four week period.
The treatment is given on an outpatient basis, meaning that patients will not have to stay overnight as it lasts for only a few minutes per session.
An ultrasound is used to determine the depth of the area needing treatment. Following that, a 2-3mm deep and 3cm wide applicator is positioned on the area of skin requiring treatment.
A follow-up appointment is then scheduled six weeks later to monitor progress.
After this, follow-up visits are scheduled every three to six months for the first year and once per year after that.
Consultant Morfo Georgiou said: “Brachytherapy delivers the radiation with a high degree of precision. The tumour gets a high dose of radiation and because of such accurate positioning we can exactly determine the depth of radiation required to minimise any damage to healthy surrounding tissues.
“The treatment is great for patients because it leaves no scarring and it requires fewer sessions than other treatment options.”
Peter Walmsley, 75, from Fishtoft near Boston has just finished his course of brachytherapy treatment.
He said: “I didn’t feel any pain or sensation during the sessions but I have had a slight tickle on my nose. The staff have been absolutely marvellous and really looked after me.
“I feel absolutely fine and I’m really pleased with how quick each session has been – less than 10 minutes.”
Non-melamoma skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the world. There are more than 100,000 new cases every year in the UK.