New £2million radiotherapy equipment unveiled at Ipswich Hospital

Patient Stephen Cross with radiographers (l-r) Alex Knights, Susie Layzell, Michelle Johnson-Last an

Patient Stephen Cross with radiographers (l-r) Alex Knights, Susie Layzell, Michelle Johnson-Last and Suzanne Isherwood - Credit: Archant

Radiotherapy treatment at Ipswich Hospital has been boosted with the addition of a new £2million piece of equipment which will ‘make treatment more effective’.

The linear accelerator (Linac) produces high energy radiation for treating cancer and the high resolution scanners give a better picture of any growths. It also allows clinicians to target tumours more effectively, which limits damaging side effects.

Suzanne Isherwood, radiotherapy service manager, said: “The new Linac is much better for imaging, giving us an enhanced picture we can better compare with a CT scan.

“It gives us six degrees of freedom on the couch top, so if the patient is not aligned correctly it allows us to adjust for position in both planes more accurately with a great chance of matching doctors’ marks more precisely. This improves the performance, so it is wonderful.

“This latest treatment can really spare surrounding tissues such as the spinal cord, salivary glands or rectum and as a consequence patients suffer fewer side effects.”


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One of the first patients to be treated with the new machine was 61-year-old Stephen Cross, of Ipswich.

The retired history teacher was sent to the hospital after passing a blood clot. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent both radiotherapy and hormone therapy treatment, ending this summer.

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And it was the staff who Mr Cross singled out for praise.

He said: “I never dreamt I would have such a wonderful adventure in hospital. I witnessed marvellous things in the Radiotherapy unit.

“The staff, each and every one of them, were fantastic, and they became a family to me.”

Mr Cross not only learnt the names of 39 members of staff during his visits, but gave historical names to the Linac machines – Guinevere and Alexandra, Lancelot (the now decommissioned machine) and King Arthur (the new machine).

The hospital has three Linacs and the new model replaces an older one that has come to the end of its 10-year clinical life.

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