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Press Release

New radiotherapy machine to deliver cutting edge cancer treatment
Press release date17/05/2017
Leicester’s Hospitals is one of the first centres in the England to benefit from a national £130million investment programme to upgrade radiotherapy treatment machines.
Press release

Funded by NHS England as part of the largest radiotherapy upgrade programme in 15 years, the new True Beam Linear Accelerator (Linac) machine has state of the art capabilities to allow the team at Leicester’s Hospitals to deliver the best possible care for cancer patients.

The radiotherapy department is part of the South East Midlands Oncology Centre (SEMOC)* and is situated on the ground floor in the Osborne Building, a purpose built oncology unit, at Leicester Royal Infirmary. It is one of 15 centres to have received a replacement Linac in the first wave of funding set to be delivered over the next two years.

The Linac is a radiotherapy machine which uses high energy X-rays for the treatment of patients with cancers such as breast, prostate, lung and colorectal. 

Approximately 40% of patients with cancer receive radiotherapy as part of their treatment. Depending on the treatment site and intent, the length of a patient’s treatment course may vary from a single treatment to over six weeks. 

The busy department receives over 2,300 new referrals for radiotherapy each year, with approximately 33,000 annual attendances, with the team treating between 120-155 patients each day using four Linac machines. 

Lorraine Williams, Head of Radiotherapy at Leicester’s Hospitals, explains: “We are really pleased to be one of the first Trusts to get a new Linac. It will make such a huge difference to our patients as it not only offers cutting edge technology but also broadens our treatment options.

“In addition to the funding received from NHS England, last year, we received funding from Macmillan Cancer Support for specialist posts and equipment to implement an advanced radiotherapy treatment technique for left sided breast cancer known as deep inspiration breath hold treatment (DIBH).”

During DIBH treatment, patients are asked to hold their breath for up to 20 seconds and this action lifts the breast away from the heart. This specialised technique reduces the risk of patients suffering from the long-term side effects of radiotherapy which is vital in improving health and quality of life for cancer survivors.

Lorraine continues: “We treated our first patient using this technique in August 2016, and now thanks to the generosity of Macmillan and the support of NHS England, we can offer this technique to all patients who would benefit from this treatment option”.

Patient, Dawn Falconer-Smith from Countesthorpe, is now coming to the end of her DIBH treatment. She said:  “Having radiotherapy using this technique is brilliant, and knowing that by simply holding your breath for a short time you can reduce the amount of radiotherapy to the heart is reassuring. I’m really pleased that more people will now be able to have this treatment.”

Maxine Astley-Pepper, Macmillan Interim Partnership Manager, added: “It’s very exciting to be able to support this development, and the radiotherapy staff, in order to improve the lives of people living with cancer.” 

These recent investments form part of a larger £3.3million scheme by the Trust to provide an upgraded IT infrastructure to allow the radiotherapy team to network with neighbouring centres, as well as a chance to refurbish the central computer planning room within the department.

For further information about cancer services at Leicester’s Hospitals, please visit www.leicestershospitals.nhs.uk/aboutus/departments-services/cancer-services-and-clinical-haematology/ 


* SEMOC is a cancer partnership between University Hospitals of Leicester, Northampton General Hospital, and Kettering General Hospital serving Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland. 

Contact information:
Contact information
Media are invited to attend the official unveiling from 3pm- 4pm on Wednesday 24 May which will include a demonstration of the Linac machine.

Interviews will be available with Chief Executive John Adler, and representatives of Macmillan and the Leicester radiotherapy team.

To confirm your attendance, or for any other media enquiries, please contact:

Laura Mort
Communications Officer
Leicester’s Hospitals
0116 258 8524
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