Health Minister Simon Hamilton has announced patients will be able to avail of an innovative new treatment to help tackle cancer in Northern Ireland, rather than have to travel to England.
The necessary funding has been earmarked to further develop Northern Ireland’s capacity to deliver stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) which offers the potential for better cure rates and improved sparing of normal organs.
Speaking about the announcement, Minister Hamilton said: “By the end of the year, my Department will have invested over £75million in the fight to tackle cancer in Northern Ireland, in the areas of specialist cancer nurses, a new radiotherapy unit in Altnagelvin, diagnostics and the launch of an acute oncology service.
“Investment in SABR, from my Transformation Fund, will allow us to treat more patients more effectively and with better outcomes. Clinicians use SABR to treat small, well defined tumours that are deep within the body by directing beams from more angles than other types of radiotherapy.
“The treatment can therefore target the tumour with a high degree of precision with the tumour getting the full dose and a much lower dose to the surrounding normal tissues.”
The Minister continued: “Previously patients requiring this mode of radiotherapy had to travel to England. This additional resource will allow us to build expertise and capacity across the range of highly specialist professionals required to deliver this therapy to high standards and safely.
“The recent publication of cancer incidence and survival rates shows that we are making good progress in tackling cancer. I want to see this continue and this latest development is further evidence of my commitment to that.”