‘Important’ development for cancer treatment at hospital

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A grandfather says a new cancer treatment procedure at Kettering hospital is 100 per cent better than before.

The hospital says it is giving a key cancer drug to urology patients within minutes of bladder cancer surgery being completed.

The urology and pharmacy team have worked together to offer the service, which has been proven to be the best way of preventing tumours reoccurring.

Alan Cozens, 64, from Wellingborough, was one of the first patients to have the new joint procedure when he received the treatment on Tuesday, February 5.

He said: “I developed bladder cancer in 1998 and the first time I had an operation and chemotherapy I was in hospital for two days and had my chemotherapy separately on the ward.

“Last Tuesday I had the procedure done in the new way where you have the tumour removal procedure and chemotherapy at the same time. It is 100 per cent better. It is all over and one with in one fell swoop on the same day. You have everything explained to you and know exactly what is happening. I can’t praise the staff enough for how they look after you.”

Consultant urologist at the hospital, David Payne, said: “It is well recognised that the administration of the chemotherapy drug mitomycin-C into the bladder is more effective when performed within six hours of surgery to kill any residual cancer cells left behind in the bladder.

“Often this is done some hours after surgery on the wards but we have now gone one step further and developed a process where we instil the drug within minutes of surgery being completed.

“This new procedure involves the urology team, theatre and pharmacy teams all working together so that we can deliver the drug in theatre.

“To do this we have developed an effective process whereby the drug is prescribed, dispensed and delivered to theatre while the patient is still having their operation. Once the operation is finished we then administer the drug where it remains in the bladder for one hour and is then drained away.”

He added: “This is important because after a tumour has been removed there can still be cancer cells floating around in the bladder.

“By using this drug we are able to kill these cells before they can multiply and re-implant themselves in the bladder. This reduces the risk of a cancer returning by half.”

Urology oncology clinical nurse specialist, Janine Cullen, said the development was an important step forward for patient care.

“We are doing everything we can to prevent a cancer returning,” she added.

“Previously we would have given this drug to patients on the wards after their surgery. But this new procedure means that there is now no delay at all so we hit the cancer cells right away.

“It also means that patients can go home several hours earlier than they would have done before.”

The first procedure of this kind was carried out in December, and the hospital trust expects to carry out about 150 each year.