Crowborough man first to benefit from new radiotherapy machine

Man with a new radiotherapy machine

A cancer patient from Crowborough was the first to benefit from a new radiotherapy machine which halves treatment times and provides a much more comfortable experience.

The £2million Halcyon radiotherapy machine at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW) started operating last month and is one of only a few in the country.

The machine, based at MTW’s Maidstone site, targets larger tumours more effectively and provides more accurate images in a less enclosed and quieter environment, helping to reduce stress to patients.

Bladder cancer patient Paul, 56, from Crowborough was the very first person to be treated with the new machine, on July 25.

He said: “It’s a much quieter machine than what I’ve been treated with before, so it was a much more pleasant experience, and I was in and out so quickly – it was a terrific service.

“If I ever win the lottery I’ll be buying them another one!”

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW) chief of cancer services Philippa Moth said: “Improving the patient experience is always at the forefront of every decision we make and the investment in this new technology will mean our patients have access to faster, more accurate treatment and therefore spend less time in hospital and more time with their loved ones.

“The Halcyon is part of our ongoing commitment to ensure our patients have access to the best possible care and thanks to the hard work of our fantastic teams will help us build on the progress we have made in the last few years in becoming one of the best performing cancer centres in the country.”

As well as being much easier for specialist staff to use, the Halcyon also offers increased efficiency such as dramatically lower running costs helping to save energy and being completely paperless.

The Kent Oncology Centre belongs to the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW) which also runs Tunbridge Wells Hospital.

The cancer centre continued all cancer treatments throughout the pandemic.

MTW is one of only a handful of trusts to have met national cancer standards for almost three years.

Staff are now looking forward to increasing the number of cancer patients they can treat with the delivery of a second Halcyon later this year.

MTW’s other investments in cancer care include recruiting more specialist oncology clinicians, developing and training nursing staff to enable them to deliver chemotherapy treatment and the opening of a new Oncology Outpatients suite in May.

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