Quest to bring new treatment to West
In the wake of the report on September 9, with regard to the sheer waste of NHS money in buying gantry-mounted radiosurgery systems, I thought you might like to know that since early 2005, following the death of my husband, Ron, I have been campaigning for a Cyberknife for the South West.
It is nearly nine years now, since I began raising awareness about the Cyberknife system and raising money for one, which I hope will one day form the basis of an appeal. I have also fallen into the role of being an advocate for people wanting to know how to access Cyberknife.
My charity, the Ron Peberdy Cyberknife Trust, has always been about having a South West Cyberknife and I am passionate about seeing it happen before I meet my maker.
I know that with the right publicity, we could raise the sum needed, because each and every one of us is affected in some way by cancer.
FREE home energy survey - BEAT THE ENERGY PRICE CRUNCH!View details
Call us on 01271 323309 and book your FREE home energy survey during December. Let us help you reduce your energy bills as well as your carbon footprint.
Valid until 20th Dec 2013
Consultation is completely free
No obligation and impartial advice
Contact: 01271 440974
Valid until: Friday, December 20 2013
Cyberknife is extremely versatile in what it is able to treat and once the systems are in place, treatment is more cost effective. We need more of these systems out in the regions so that people will be able to access them more easily.
In 2009, I was part of a House of Commons Select Committee meeting with regard to what Cyberknife is able to do and the outcome of it was "why are we here? This is a no brainer".
A resolution was made to recommend that the NHS needed to introduce these systems into the NHS. Not only that, the National Radiotherapy Implementation Group issued a report saying that Cyberknife could save about 3,400 lives a year. What has been done? The Government has ignored it. What a waste of time.
I write regularly to Prime Minister David Cameron and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt with regard to this issue. Do I have replies? Not on your life. I have been vilified and patronised by many people, including health professionals who should know better, but I care not a jot and I will not be satisfied until we have our Cyberknife for the South West.
The wonderful thing about Cyberknife is that it offers hope to those diagnosed with inoperable tumours such as in the spine, brain, lungs, liver and pancreas.
It is able to accurately treat tumours with its high-density, highly focused beams of radiation from many, many angles. It is non-invasive, painless, and the patient is able to walk away from treatment and resume daily life. There are little or nothing in the way of side effects and treatment is given in between one and five treatments, or fractions as they are known by professionals. One of the downsides with conventional radiotherapy is that treatment is drawn out over weeks, which is tedious and tiring.
As a former NHS nurse, with more than 30 years' experience, I was blown away when I learned of Cyberknife. I realised that here was technology which would be an amazing tool in the treatment of tumours both benign and malignant, which would make a difference to so many people's lives and offer hope.
One would think it would be embraced by the NHS, would reduce in-patient admissions and enable people to carry on life normally and avoid lengthy recovery periods. Why these people at the top are unable to see it is beyond me. I find the hypocrisy of it all quite nauseating because if it were them or any of their friends or family receiving a bombshell of an inoperable diagnosis, they would hotfoot it to the nearest Cyberknife. More than likely they would be able to afford the fees to access the privately owned systems in London of which there are two, the Harley Street Clinic and the London Clinic.
It galls me when I learn of funding being denied to people like Kerry Dunn of Somerset, who are left waiting while tumours increase in size. Time is of the essence here and what is needed is for the people who could benefit most from accessing Cyberknife to be fast-tracked to a Cyberknife team for assessment and treated if deemed viable. Is that too much to ask? I think not, however the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary seem to think so.
Back in the 1970s, the advent of the MRI scanner saw hospitals up and down the country launching appeals. The public dug deep in their pockets and got the job done. This is what needs to happen with regard to Cyberknife. I have thought that from day one. If one of our hospitals would commit, I would be the first to offer the money I have raised (the tip of the iceberg) as a basis for an appeal. We need our press, radio and television stations to support the appeals.
We would have our South West Cyberknife in no time, but we would also need assurance from the NHS that those with little or nothing in the way of treatment options would be priority. All the rest would follow.
Cyberknife is being used throughout the world. If it is as ineffective as the NHS would have us believe, why, oh why are there getting on for 250 systems in use, with numbers increasing? The results for prostate cancers treated with Cyberknife have been phenomenal. Consultants in the US are fast-tracking patients for assessment which needs to happen here.
Please, please, let us get on with the job in hand. Let us secure a commitment and launch our appeal. I have eaten, breathed and slept Cyberknife since 2005. I told Ron before he died that I would do all I could to bring Cyberknife to the South West and I know we can do it. Then I will die in peace.