THE North of Ireland’s second facility dedicated to providing cancer treatment and care, the North West Cancer Centre at Altnagelvin Hospital, Derry marked its two-year anniversary this week.
Since opening at the end of November 2016, The North West Cancer Centre, has treated over 900 patients from the Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) area, parts of the Northern Health and Social Care Trust (Northern Trust) area and patients from north Donegal have received their radiotherapy treatment locally.
Dr David Stewart, Lead Clinical Oncologist at the North West Cancer Centre said: “The centre is a true example of cross border partnership working.
“It is a success story in the delivery of high quality, safe and effective cancer care for patients from both Northern Ireland and from the Republic of Ireland.
“Radiotherapy is highly effective in improving cancer survival rates. The team at the North West Cancer Centre works closely with surgical and medical teams at the Trust and Letterkenny University Hospital to provide the best cancer care for patients.
“Modern radiotherapy treatment needs fewer visits to hospital and many patients can continue working during the course of their treatment.
“To date patient and relative feedback regarding the centre has been very positive, with many patients speaking about the real benefit of receiving care so close to home.”
Services within the North West Cancer Centre are now fully operational across a number of tumour sites including prostate, breast, lung, bowel, bladder and head and neck and lymphoma. A number of palliative treatments are also being delivered locally, including the recent implementation of offering emergency radiotherapy treatments.
The centre prides itself in the use of highly specialised equipment. Earlier this year the centre implemented the latest treatment imaging technology, including iterative cone-beam CT (iCBCT) and 4D cone-beam CT (4D-CBCT).
The centre also uses advanced radiology imaging particularly MRI in the planning of radiotherapy treatments. Collectively these allow delivery of radiotherapy even more accurately to within millimetres curing more patients and producing fewer side effects.
In addition to radiotherapy development, the North West Cancer Centre also continues to deliver advanced chemotherapy techniques.
The Sperrin Suite, which provides day care treatment for oncology and haematology patients has also treated patients with the newest forms of targeted anti-cancer therapies, including immunotherapy.
These therapies can be more effective and have less associated side effects than some standard forms of chemotherapy.