Patients receiving radiotherapy at Northampton General Hospital are benefiting from the first phase of a £5.5 million programme to upgrade its linear accelerators.
The first linear accelerator (LINAC) machine to be installed as part of the replacement programme has treated its first patient, Glynis Albrighton.
She said: “I didn’t know what to expect to be honest, but as soon as I came in, everyone was so comforting explaining everything to me, showing me the machine, explaining what would happen and what the after-effects would be. I felt very confident in everybody.”
The new machine is housed in a purpose-designed converted building connected to the main hospital site by a new glass walkway.
When all three machines are online, NGH will be one of the country’s best radiotherapy sites, offering better cure rates and fewer side effects through more accurate targeting of tumours.
Consultant oncologist Dr Craig Knighton said: “With our three existing LINAC machines all coming to end of their life at the same time and needing to be replaced, the timing was perfect for us to look at the bigger picture to see how we could improve the overall experience of our radiotherapy patients.
“With the three new machines, Northampton will be one of the most advanced centres for radiotherapy in the country, with benefits including a greater range of therapies, reduced side effects and improved positioning of patients which means better accuracy in targeting cancer cells.”
A linear accelerator (LINAC) is the device most commonly used for external beam radiation treatments for patients with cancer. The linear accelerator is used to treat all parts of the body by delivering high-energy x-rays to the region of the patient’s tumour.
Dr Qurrat Mehmood, consultant clinical oncologist and Mrs Albrighton’s consultant said: “This machine gives superior imaging with the facility of CT scanning and that gives the detail in making sure the treatment that you’ve planned and designed for the patient is actually the treatment that’s being delivered with regard to the accuracy.
“Our patients will benefit from having the reassurance that we’re doing more targeted treatments which should result in better cure rates but also that we’ll be able to lower the long and short term side effects to tissue that doesn’t need radiotherapy.”