More cancer patients to be treated by stereotactic radiotherapy on Mount Vernon’s CyberKnife

Today NHS England has announced that the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre is one of several centres across England to be included in a national evaluation programme to assess the benefit of a specialist form of radiotherapy – called stereotactic ablative radiotherapy or SABR for short – in treating some forms of cancer. SABR is a modern, more precise delivery technique of radiotherapy, which delivers high doses of radiation while causing less damage to surrounding healthy tissue than conventional radiotherapy.

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Mount Vernon is one of a handful of cancer centres to have a CyberKnife in the UK, a radiotherapy machine designed to deliver stereotactic radiotherapy that is used already to treat NHS patients with early stage non-small cell lung cancer. Following NHS England’s announcement, the CyberKnife at Mount Vernon will be also be used to treat NHS patients with: oligometastatic disease (cancer that has spread in a limited fashion to another part of the body); primary liver tumours; and the re-irradiation of cancers in the pelvis and spine. NHS England’s clinical panel is also considering including benign spinal tumours and renal conditions as part of its evaluation scheme in the future.

Dr Pete Ostler, a clinical oncologist at the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, said:

“Today’s announcement from NHS England is very welcome and ends uncertainty for many of our patients as the process to get individual funding requests on the NHS has been a difficult and lengthy process that too often ended in disappointment.  The decision means that patients deemed suitable for treatment on our CyberKnife can go ahead and be treated quickly without worrying if the NHS will approve its funding. Our staff too will find it much easier to care for their patients, providing them with the best form of treatment for their condition – including SABR, if that’s indicated.”