Pioneering treatment for Alnwick cancer patient

Geoff Proudlock outside the Northern Centre for Cancer Care.
Geoff Proudlock outside the Northern Centre for Cancer Care.

An Alnwick businessman is the first cancer patient in the North East to be treated using a ground-breaking form of radiotherapy.

Geoff Proudlock, who runs the family business House and Home with his daughter, benefited from the pioneering technology at the Freeman Hospital’s Northern Centre for Cancer Care (NCCC).

Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) is being used to treat patients with secondary cancers. Its high degree of accuracy minimises damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

The NCCC is one of only 17 centres in the UK selected to take part in the new initiative.

Geoff, a 72-year-old grandad, has had SABR treatment for secondary tumours in both lungs.

He said: “I was found to have bowel cancer some four years ago after an endoscopy to investigate a bit of bleeding I was having. I had surgery three weeks later at Wansbeck General Hospital which was, as far as we knew, successful.

“Then, two years later a CT scan picked up a small tumour in one of my lungs. I saw an oncologist who referred me to one of the cardiothoracic surgeons at the Freeman Hospital and he removed a lobe from the lung. It all seemed to have gone well, and then we found these two further tumours.”

As he has a tumour in each lung, like many other patients with secondary cancer he cannot be treated surgically and so he was referred to the NCCC to be considered for SABR.

Geoff, an Alderman of Northumberland, former Mayor of the old Castle Morpeth borough and a long-standing Morpeth Chamber of Trade member, added: “I’ve had the most fantastic care treatment from everyone involved at both the Freeman and Wansbeck hospitals.

“I was already aware of the new SABR as my wife had been researching the latest treatments, but it was only previously available in London. I’m very pleased that it has made its way up to the North East and to be able to take part in the new programme. So far I feel fine, if a little more breathless than usual, but I enjoy a good round of golf and am of a certain age, so that’s to be expected I suppose.”

He will need to be monitored regularly to keep an eye on his condition, including a follow-up CT scan in six months’ time, to see how effective the SABR has been.

Bringing this technology to the North East was made possible thanks to a special collaboration between the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and charities the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Charlie Bear for Cancer Care and the Newcastle Healthcare Charity. The NCCC received funding of £1.2million to contribute towards the purchase of the new technology.