The Christie at Oldham has started to deliver a new form of patient treatment which will boost the level of care for patients with breast cancer.

Wendy Deacon, who is currently being treated for breast cancer, was the first to undergo treatment with surface guided radiation therapy this week using a technique called deep inspiration breath hold (DIBH) at the radiotherapy centre, which is one of The Christie’s local radiotherapy centres where patients can receive treatment closer to home.

Surface guided radiation therapy (SGRT) is a rapidly growing technique which uses stereo vision technology to track patients in 3D. Radiation therapy has been shown to be a highly effective treatment for breast cancer, but the proximity of the left breast to the heart leaves the heart vulnerable to radiation exposure which can lead to longer term cardiac complications.

The new equipment means The Christie can expand its use of a technique called deep inspiration breath hold (DIBH) to move the heart away from the breast during therapy, therefore reducing the risk of future complications.

Wendy, a retired head teacher, said: “I have been extremely fortunate to receive DIBH, benefiting from groundbreaking research by The Christie and put into practice for the very first time by The Christie at Oldham.

“The prospect of radiotherapy can be particularly concerning for those requiring treatment on the left breast, DIBH now eliminates this worry.

“As a patient, I can assure others that the process is managed brilliantly by The Christie at Oldham, making everything so safe and easy to follow. I cannot thank them enough for their care, their kindness and the gift of life-enhancing chances.”

The team at Oldham is led by Julie Davies. She said: “We were delighted to be able to treat Wendy with SGRT. It is an exciting development in the care we can offer our patients, using the latest technology to help us to reduce the chance of side effects treatment can sometimes cause.” 

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust was the first specialist trust to be rated as ‘Outstanding’ twice (in 2016 and 2018) by the health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It referred to The Christie as ‘a leader in cancer care’ and ‘a pioneer in developing innovative solutions to cancer care.’ The CQC praised the Trust’s staff which it said ‘go the extra mile to meet the needs of patients and their families’ and that they were ‘exceptionally kind and caring.’ In 2017, the CQC rated The Christie as the best specialist trust in the country, and one of the top three trusts overall in England. 

Last updated: March 2021