CyberKnife to treat 2,000th patient at QEHB
CyberKnife, the cutting edge piece of cancer-fighting equipment which was brought to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 2013, is reaching a landmark over the coming days. The team are preparing to treat their 2,000th patient using the machine, and Principal Clinical Scientist Dr. Geoff Heyes has been reflecting on the difference that CyberKnife has made during the COVID-19 pandemic to continue offering life-saving care to cancer patients.
CyberKnife was brought to the hospital following a successful £3.5 million fundraising appeal by University Hospitals Birmingham Charity and since then has changed the way that patients are treated for head and neck cancers. CyberKnife offers a non-invasive alternative to open surgery and can be used to treat tumours anywhere in the body. It enables very high doses of radiation to be targeted directly at the tumour with pinpoint accuracy, without damaging the healthy tissue.
Dr. Geoff Heyes, pictured above with the CyberKnife team in 2018, was instrumental in bringing the machine to the hospital. He said: “The team at the QE are thrilled to announce that we will shortly be treating our 2000th patient on the CyberKnife machine bought in 2013 by UHB Charity. This makes us one of the busiest CyberKnife units in the UK.
“One of the key advantages of CyberKnife is the ability it gives us to deliver an entire course of radiotherapy in a single or very small number of treatments. This has been put to great use during COVID-19, as it enabled us to minimise the number of hospital visits a patient coming for radiotherapy had to make.
“As our CyberKnife patients with brain tumours are treated without the need for an invasive head frame, it also meant we could schedule their appointments to minimise the amount of time they had to be in the hospital for.
“These patients could attend for a scan, return home, and then only come back in to the department once their radiotherapy plan was ready to be delivered. With efforts in the hospital to reduce pressures on theatres and ITU beds in the height of COVID-19, we were able to continue to offer a specialised cancer treatment option to our patients thanks to the support of UHB Charity.”