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Cancer patients who suffer recurrent tumours may now be spared the ordeal of repeat surgeries thanks to an investment of £40,000 by Rosemere Cancer Foundation to help the Plastic Surgery Department at the Royal Preston Hospital buy an Electrochemotherapy machine (ECT machine).

ECT is a new, innovative therapy for harder to treat patients – patients whose cancer deposits keeps coming back – and the machine’s arrival in Preston means the hospital is one of only a handful of centres in the UK able to offer this new procedure.

ECT combines the administration of low dose chemotherapy medicines to selectively kill tumour cells, which in many cases are given intravenously, followed by the delivery of brief and intense electric pulses using needle electrodes directly into the tumour.

The electric pulses make the cancer cells more permeable to enable the chemotherapy medicine to reach exactly where it is most needed – they create temporary pores to let the medicine in (electroporation).

Sofiane Rimouche, Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon, explained: “Electrochemotherapy is hugely beneficial to patients as it is an alternative to recurrent surgery or higher dose chemotherapy on its own or with radiotherapy, which all potentially have significant side-effects.

“Different shaped electrodes or plates are used depending on the tumour size, extent, shape and location. As a team, we were extremely lucky to be given the opportunity to trial ECT equipment at no cost. From this trial, we were able to demonstrate patient experience and outcome benefits especially for breast and skin cancer.”

Mr Rimouche added: “At the trial’s end, we felt the prospect of not being able to continue to offer ECT was a significant backwards step for patient care and quality of life, which is why we approached Rosemere Cancer Foundation for help. Thankfully, the charity supported our bid and we’re now able to continue to provide ECT on an as needed basis”

Rosemere Cancer Foundation works to bring world class cancer treatments and services to cancer patients from throughout Lancashire and South Cumbria being treated at Rosemere Cancer Centre, the region’s specialist cancer treatment centre, and at another eight local hospital cancer units.

The charity funds cutting edge equipment, research, training and other cancer services and therapies that the NHS is unable to afford. For further information on its work, including how to make a donation, visit www.rosemere.org.uk