New prostate cancer centre opens

Published Wednesday, 15 September 2010
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A new facility for prostate cancer has opened at the City Hospital in Belfast, offering a treatment for identifying the disease which was previously only available in England.

Brachytherapy is a form of radiotherapy delivering radiation via tiny capsules inserted into the prostate under anaesthetic.

This then allows the radiotherapy which follows to target the tumour directly.

It is expected that up to 60 patients a year will be using the new treatment centre.

"Patients would come and we would select them for this treatment," Dr Darren Mitchell from Belfast City Hospital told UTV. "We ensure they have the right type of cancer and the right type of urinary function.

"Having done that they're able to come through and have a very quick anaesthetic so see that everything looks right and in the space of an hour inject radiotherapy seeds into the prostate to deliver that treatment.

"They'll wake up quickly and go home quickly after the treatment and that's it done."

Approximately 800 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in Northern Ireland every year. Around 215 die from the disease annually.

Health Minister Michael McGimpsey hopes the new service will cut the number of deaths dramatically.

"Prostate, after melanoma is the single biggest killer in men as far as cancer is concerned," Mr McGimpsey said. "This is a very important development."

Funding for the new centre came from the Department of Heath, which provided £250,000, and the charity Men Against Cancer, which provided £100,000.

"Having it done locally is very important," said Eric Cairns from Men Against Cancer.

"What it also does is put Northern Ireland at the leading edge of a number of things, in particular this special treatment - Brachysurgery."

© UTV News
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