LONDON, March 30, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Former England Rugby World Cup winner Matt Dawson today launched the 'Because Life is for Living' campaign to raise awareness about brachytherapy, a very precise (1) and highly effective (2) form of radiotherapy to treat cancer.
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Photographs of Matt Dawson launching the campaign will be available from noon (BST) on the 30th March.
According to a new cancer patient survey, 75% of patients with cancer have never heard of brachytherapy - a state-of-the-art technology that brings the radiation dose directly to the target cancer area,(2) avoiding damage to healthy tissues and organs, and minimising side effects.(3) Of those 25% who are aware, only one in four have been offered the treatment.
Professor Peter Hoskin, Consultant Clinical Oncologist from Mount Vernon Hospital, Middlesex said, Brachytherapy is little known among cancer patients despite new technology having developed the practice to an increasingly effective treatment option. With brachytherapy, many people don't have to stay in hospital when they have brachytherapy, or if they do, the time is much less than other options such as surgery.
Having had close family members suffer from cancer, we obviously wanted to find the best possible treatment available, and having easy access to information and learning about our options was a crucial step to helping us deal with the situation, said Matt Dawson. That is why I support the 'Because Life is for Living' campaign which encourages patients and their loved ones to make informed treatment choices, he added.
The 'Because Life is for Living' campaign encourages people with cancer and their carers to enter the new website http://www.aboutbrachytherapy.com to source information that along with their doctors can help them make informed treatment choices.
Compared to other forms of radiotherapy like external beam (EBRT), brachytherapy can deliver the required dose of radiation over a significantly shortened treatment time. In treating prostate cancer, for example, normal treatment times that can take up to seven weeks with EBRT take only one or two days with brachytherapy.(4,5) Additionally, the precise delivery of radiation reduces the risk of unnecessary damage to surrounding healthy tissue and organs which can help reduce side effects. Again, in prostate cancer the risk of side effects like incontinence and erectile dysfunction is lower than with other treatment options.(3) These factors minimise disruption to patients and allow a faster return to everyday life.
The ICM patient survey showed that men were more likely to be offered the treatment. Four in 10 men were aware of brachytherapy compared to less than 1 in 10 women. Awareness among women needs to be increased because brachytherapy can be as effective in treating female-specific indications like breast and gynaecological cancer as it is in treating prostate cancer in men and with the same minimised side effects.(3)
Dr Rachel Cooper, Consultant Clinical Oncologist from St James' University Hospital, Leeds, believes this is due to low awareness of what brachytherapy is and what types of cancers it helps treat.
Brachytherapy is often used to treat prostate cancer, explains Dr Cooper, but it is also a proven type of radiotherapy being used successfully in a range of other cancers such as gynaecological, breast, oesophagus, skin and rectal cancer.
The ICM survey confirmed that cancer patients frequently access the Internet for treatment information.
The more information available to patients and their families, the better, added Matt Dawson. Information about effective treatment options like brachytherapy should be easy to find for anyone dealing with cancer.
The 'Because Life is for Living' campaign and http://www.aboutbrachytherapy.com website are supported by Nucletron.
Notes to editors
Brachytherapy is a high-precision radiation therapy, in which the radiation source used to kill cancer cells and shrink tumours is placed in or close to the tumour itself. Brachytherapy offers a precise, highly effective and well tolerated treatment option tailored to the needs of individual patients. The precision brachytherapy approach allows a physician to concentrate a high dose of radiation in a small area, minimising damage to nearby, healthy body tissue and organs, over a shorter treatment period.
About the market research
The ICM Cancer Patient Survey was conducted in February 2010, based on a pool of 598 online surveys completed by current or past cancer patients in the UK, USA and Netherlands according to the following breakdown: 250 UK, 250 USA and 98 Netherlands respondents. Respondents were 54% male and 46% female with ages varying from 18-65+ years old.
Nucletron provides state of the art radiotherapy solutions for cancer treatment that meet the evolving needs of patients, their carers and healthcare professionals around the world. Nucletron has unmatched global leadership in brachytherapy, a very precise, highly effective and well-tolerated treatment option for healthcare providers, tailored to the needs of individual patients. We work with clinical teams to constantly improve and develop an innovative portfolio of integrated products, software and services that assures excellent patient outcomes. Headquartered in Veenendaal, The Netherlands, Nucletron employs more than 500 employees, with offices in 15 countries, and products available in more than 100 countries around the world. Please visit http://www.nucletron.com to learn more about our healthcare solutions.
1 Stewart AJ Jones B. In Devlin Brachytherapy: Applications and techniques. 2007.
2 Kupelian PA, Potters L, Khuntia D, et al. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2004;58(1):25-33.
3 Pisansky TM, Gold DG, Furutani KM, et al. Mayo Clin Proc 2008;83(12):1364-72.
4 Dickler A, Patel RR, Wazer D. Expert Rev Med Devices 2009;6(3):325-33.
5 Viani GA, Manta GB, Stefano EJ, et al. J Exp Clin Cancer Res 2009;28:47.
For additional information or interviews with Matt Dawson, Prof Hoskin or Dr Cooper please contact:
Dr Jonathan Briers, Vice President, Medical Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +31-318-557-231 at Nucletron
CONTACT: For additional information or interviews with Matt Dawson, ProfHoskin or Dr Cooper please contact: Danny Stepto, email@example.com, Tel:+44(0)208-392-8042 or Ligia Santos, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel:+44(0)208-392-6925 at Red Door Communications; Dr Jonathan Briers, VicePresident, Medical Affairs, email@example.com, Tel:+31-318-557-231 at Nucletron