Wirral’s Clatterbridge Cancer Centre is one of a handful of centres that offer the Papillon technique to those with early stage bowel cancer.
And it was first introduced to Britain in 1993 by Professor Arthur Sun Myint, a consultant at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, who has been at the forefront of its development since then.
Now 20 years on – to mark the anniversary, of the groundbreaking radiotherapy treatment – Prof Myint has been sharing his experiences so patients across the globe can benefit.
As Prof Myint became the latest to add his voice to Merseyside & Cheshire’s Action on Cancer campaign, he explained more about it.
He said: “Papillon treatment is suitable for patients with early stage rectal cancer.
“The only other alternative to this specialist type of radiotherapy treatment at the moment is major surgery with a stay in hospital and a colostomy bag for the rest of the patient’s life.
“The Papillon procedure directly targets the tumour with radiotherapy and the patient is in and out of hospital on the same day.
“Although it isn’t suitable for everyone, it can dramatically improve the outcome of treatment.”
Prof Myint invited doctors from across the globe to attend a National Papillon Study Day which was held at Clatterbridge.
It provided an overview of contact radiotherapy, which patients are suitable for treatment with the Papillon technique, a real patient’s experience of the treatment and the importance of setting up clinical trials to gather more evidence about the benefits of Papillon.
Prof Myint, who wants to see Papillon used throughout the world, added: “It was a real honour for us to host the study day at Clatterbridge as the dedicated team here has seen first hand how the treatment has developed over the years and how truly life changing the procedure can be for patients.
“Over the past five years, we have hosted specialist training workshops in the hope that centres throughout the world will begin to use Papillon treatment for rectal cancers and in the process save lives and avoid the need for a permanent stoma (colostomy bag).”
The specialist team – made up of radiotherapists, radiographers and physicists – from the Papillon department has seen a 30% increase in patients treated, rising from 100 patients per year to 130.
The increase is in part down to the Government’s introduction of the bowel cancer screening programme as well as increased awareness of Papillon among clinicians and patients.
Another awareness and information sharing event for medics is planned for October.
Work is also taking place at Clatterbridge on a dedicated new Papillon centre which is due to open later this year and will allow even more patients to have the procedure.
The innovative services the region has to offer in the battle against cancer is being highlighted by the “Action on Cancer” campaign, which was launched last year by NHS Merseyside with NHS Cheshire Warrington and Wirral.
It aims to educate residents on all aspects of cancer from prevention, early detection, research and innovation and treatment available in the region.