14 March 2006

Cancer Centre Could Save Up To 700 Lives A Year - Says Derry-Born Specialist

Derry Journal

Tuesday 14th March 2006

ONE OF the world's leading cancer specialists, Derry-born professor, Patrick Johnston, believes up to 700 lives could be saved each year by the North's new flagship cancer centre. The £60 million stateofthe-art complex --located in the grounds of Belfast City Hospital --received its first patients yesterday.
The new facility is now the regional treatment centre for cancer patients across the North. Prof. Johnston - who hails from the Chapel Road area of the Waterside - believes the North's current 52 per cent cancer survival rate will match the United States' 61 per cent outcome by 2011. Prof. Johnston, a key player in the regional treatment centre project, says: "This building represents the optimum chance for cure for patients with cancer. "It is not about hospice care. This is about providing the best chance for people diagnosed with cancer to be cured from their disease. "Our biggest problem now is making people aware of the fact that cancer is treatable. It is not a disease to be afraid of any more. It is not a chronic disease.
"Diseases like breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer and, increasingly, aspects of lung cancer are all curable, if detected early." With up to 3,750 adults dying from cancer each year and rates set to rise, Prof. Johnston believes the new "integrated approach" will change the face of cancer treatment.
The centre will provide multidisciplinary expertise and specialist diagnostic facilities --including access to a full range of clinical imaging services. Among these will be six "linear accelerators" which treat tumours with radiation therapy. The specialist machines rotate around the target tumour while sparing the surrounding tissue. Specialist therapeutic services, including radiotherapy and complex chemotherapy, will be delivered, as well as access to high quality clinical trials and academic research. The new cancer complex will have 84 ward beds, a specially designed central garden and 29 apartments for patients and families travelling from outside Belfast.

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