Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Cambridge MP Huppert Quizzes Government On New Cancer Treatment

MP Julian Huppert has quizzed the government on the action it is taking to make sure breast cancer patients benefit from the latest treatment trialled at Cambridge’s Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

The technique, called intensity modulated radiotherapy treatment (IMRT), works by targeting a tumour with more precise doses of radiation while minimizing the damage to surrounding healthy tissue. It has been shown to have reduced side effects and improved cosmetic outcomes.

Julian reminded Parliament that the first UK clinical trials of IMRT were carried out at Addenbrooke’s Hospital funded by a Breast Cancer Campaign.

 And the government is launching a new £15 million fund which could provide thousands more patients with access to the advanced technique.

Julian asked Health Minister, Anna Soubry: “How many breast cancer patients a year can benefit from IMRT and how will she ensure they all manage to do so?”

 Ms Soubry said: “We know that nine per cent of all radical radiotherapy treatments should be delivered using forward planned IMRT and this forward planned IMRT should be used to benefit breast cancer patients.

“A survey of radiotherapy centres was carried out in preparation for the new fund and it showed that 26 per cent of activity was being delivered using forward planned IMRT.”

She offered to investigate the matter further and give more details in writing if Julian wished.

Julian said later: “It is vitally important that cancer patients have access to the best treatment that we can provide. This new treatment provides targeted radiotherapy to where it is needed making it less destructive and producing less uncomfortable side effects.

“I want to make sure that the money that the government is investing in this new treatment benefits as many people as possible across the country and is not restricted to just a few pilot centres.”