Rollout of innovative lung cancer treatment fast-tracked
NHS England is accelerating the rollout of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) to treat non-small cell lung cancer, with aims for a full rollout by the end of this financial year.
Conventional radiotherapy typically requires between 20 and 30 rounds of treatment. SABR, however, is a very precise method using high dose of radiation and only requires five outpatient visits and therefore significantly reduces the amount of time high-risk lung cancer patients would need to be in hospital.
The aim is, by April 2021, every part of the country will be offering SABR treatment for non-small cell lung cancer and those with lung, lymph nodes and non-spine bone oligometastatic disease.
Chief executive, Paula Chadwick, comments:
“This is fantastic news for people with non-small cell lung cancer and again shows the advances being made in the treatment of the disease.
This will have a huge impact of patients, particularly those who do not live close to hospital and were having to travel hours every day for weeks on end to receive treatment.”
COVID-response facility to now offer CT scans
NHS Nightingale Hospital Yorkshire and the Humber has begun offering clinical CT scans to some patients from Leeds and across the region.
The hospital was set up as part of the region’s COVID-19 response. However, it has remained on standby since opening after never treating a patient with coronavirus.
Patients will now be able to use the facility and make use of its clinical imaging equipment. Since last week, the Nightingale teams have been providing outpatient appointments for patients with radiotherapy referrals. The service will provide a combination of diagnostic scans and surveillance scans.
Paula Chadwick is encouraged by the news:
“We know there has been a huge drop in the number of cancer referrals and therefore diagnosis, as well as the postponement or cancellation of surveillance scans during the coronavirus pandemic.
Facilities such as the Nightingale Hospital are vital in improving these figures and saving lives.”
Our focus remains clear
While everyone’s attention is firmly fixed on COVID-19, ours remains on lung cancer and supporting those living with the disease. People like Vicky.
Vicky has been receiving treatment for incurable lung cancer for the last three years. She recently found out her disease had spread, but she couldn’t access the only remaining treatment that might help.
Her sister, Alison, called our nurse-led helpline for advice. Armed with the necessary information, Vicky has now been given access to a new treatment, which could give her more time with her three children.
Our helpline has remained open throughout the pandemic. You can call for free on 0800 358 7200 or email email@example.com. Our nurses are also hosting weekly live chat sessions on our forum every Tuesday at 2pm.
Shielding advice eased
With the recommended 12-week shielding period drawing to an end, those living in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are now seeing the restrictions eased.
In England, you can now leave your home to exercise or spend time outside, if you wish to. People in Wales are now able to undertake unlimited exercise and can meet people from another household (following the latest social distancing advice) whilst residents in Northern Ireland are now able to go and have time outside with people from their own household, or from another household.
Those living in Scotland are advised to continue to shield until 31st July. Those who are will continue to receive the support, such as pharmacy deliveries and free weekly food boxes. This may change and people may be able to leave the house to exercise outdoors from 18th June, if the infection rate is low enough.
It is your choice about whether you want to include some outdoor activity in your approach to shielding. Please check government advice in your country or discuss with a healthcare professional who knows you, if you want more personal advice. Keep safe and maintain social distancing and hygiene measures at all time.
No rise in France after lockdown eased
This week France announced there had been no rise in the number of coronavirus cases after ending lockdown rules.
France eased its strict eight-week lockdown one month ago. Since then, the number of new cases of the virus continued to drop. People in intensive care has dropped by 87 per cent from its April peak and the number of new admissions was just 20 in the last 24 hours.
France’s prime minister, Édouard Philippe, said the figures were ‘better than hoped for’.
Painting a picture of hope
We’re written a lot about incredible people delivering food and medicine to people shielding. However, one 10-year-old has been cheering children who are less fortunate than her.
Chelsea Phaire, founder of the charity Chelsea’s Charity, has sent out over 1500 art kits – including crayons, paper, colouring books and gel pens – to children in homeless shelters and foster care homes, ensuring they have something to do during lockdown.
Chelsea, who lives in Connecticut, launched her charity on her 10th birthday and asked her party guests to donate art supplies instead of giving her a birthday present. She then donated all the supplies to a homeless shelter in New York. Since lockdown, she’s mailed out over 1,500 kits to schools, shelters, and foster homes in 12 states across the US.
Art is incredibly important to Chelsea; she turned to art therapy after the death of a loved one. She now wants to make art more assessible to other children who have also gone through trauma to help them cope with their feelings.