Revolutionary radiotherapy trial for local people with throat cancer

Revolutionary radiotherapy trial for local people with throat cancer

People in Torbay and South Devon with throat cancer could now have the opportunity to receive a revolutionary form of radiotherapy thanks to a new trial.

Torbay Hospital has opened a clinical research trial called TORPEdO, where throat cancer patients can benefit from proton beam therapy. This is an excellent opportunity for Torbay and South Devon patients to access world class treatment.

Currently, people with throat cancer are treated using intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). It uses high energy radiation (photons) to treat the cancer and minimise side effects. IMRT can provide people with excellent outcomes, but healthy tissue is exposed which can lead to the development of uncomfortable side effects such as a dry mouth and difficulty swallowing.

Proton beam therapy uses protons which can release energy at an exact point in the body protecting more healthy tissue and decreases the chance of side effects developing.

Co-led by The Christie NHS Foundation Trust based in Manchester and The Institute of Cancer Research situated in London, this trial will determine whether the use of proton beam therapy reduces long-term side effects and improves quality of life for people treated with radiotherapy for throat cancer.

Proton beam therapy is currently only available at a very limited number of sites across the country, so people will need to travel to The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester to participate in the trial.

Dr Naomi Cole, Principal Investigator for the trial at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for people in our local area with oropharyngeal cancer to receive state-of-the-art radiation treatment.

“This revolutionary radiotherapy will not only aim to cure the cancer but also improve people’s quality of life following the end of treatment.”

Dr Jonathan Buckley, Cancer Research Team Leader at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “As part of an organisation committed to research and innovation, we are delighted to have another exciting opportunity which has benefits for local people.

“Thank you to all of our clinical and research teams for their hard work which has made this possible. I would also like to thank the people we care for who continue to support our trials, which are making a difference to care and outcomes for people across the country.”

The TORPEdO trial is funded by Cancer Research UK and the NHS, with support from The Taylor Family Foundation. Proton beam therapy is administered at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester.

Those currently under the care of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust for oropharyngeal cancer and are interested in finding out more are encouraged to discuss this with their oncologist or ENT surgeon.

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