£30k scanner will speed up treatment

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Cancer patients have a better chance of beating the disease thanks to the donation of a £30,000 scanner to Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

The machine at Blackpool Victoria Hospital will help doctors identify signs of cancer in a patient’s body.

Blackpool-based charity Swallows Head and Neck Cancer Support Group raised more than £30,000 in just six months to pay for the scanner, which doctors said would
 help improve care at the hospital.

They handed the scanner over to the hospital at a special celebration event on Friday.

Swallows chief executive Chris Curtis set up the charity two years ago to help people suffering from head and neck cancer after being treated for the disease himself.

He said: “The machine will help give patients an early diagnosis which will save lives. Survival rates for head and neck cancer is over 75 per cent if it’s diagnosed early, so it’s very important.

“A big thank you has to go to all the people who fund-raised for us. We wouldn’t be able to do this without our fund-raisers who collected so much and had fun doing it. We’ve had people climbing mountains and running marathons –even my own wife ran the 10k Fun Run in Blackpool which was something she had never done before.”

Mr Ajay Nigam, ENT Consultant with Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are extremely grateful to the Swallows Group for their valuable donation.

“The scanner is a huge boost for the department and will definitely help us improve the services we can deliver to patients.

“It is a state-of-the-art piece of equipment that will provide better images than the machine it is replacing and it also links up to our systems directly so we can see the results even faster than before.’’

The group now hopes to continue its fund-raising efforts to buy a £78,000 laser machine that will enable doctors to remove cancerous tumours from a patient’s neck without opening up the head and neck.

Mr Curtis said: “It will allow them to make a small hole in the neck and take out the tumours with a pen. It’s important we get the machine in the hospital – it’s life-saving.”

If you are suffering from head or neck cancer, you can call the Swallows helpline on 07504 725059. For more information or help for the charity which has a shop in The Crescent, St Annes, call (01253) 425078.