Women undergoing a hysterectomy for endometrial (womb) cancer at Rosemere Cancer Centre could spend an hour to an hour-and-a-half less on the operating table compared to elsewhere in the North West.Advertisement
Quicker surgery means shorter anaesthetic, less blood loss, less pain, reduced hospital stays, faster recovery and less risk of complications, according to consultant gynaecological oncologist Mr Georgios Angelopoulos.
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The gynaecology cancer team at the specialist cancer treatment centre at Royal Preston Hospital are unique in the region in combining keyhole surgery with the surgery-sparing technique of sentinel lymph node detection and mapping.
This involves using a Pinpoint High Definition Fluorescent Imaging System,
bought at a cost £110,000 by charity Rosemere Cancer Foundation, to search for lymph nodes in the pelvic sidewall.
Lymph nodes are collections of tissue that contain immune cells and work to filter harmful substances, including infections, from the body.
Those nearest cancer tumour sites are known as sentinel lymph nodes because they are the first lymph nodes to which, if a cancer is spreading, cancer cells are likely to have reached.
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The imaging system is made up of a laparoscope with a powerful infra red camera at its end, which enables the surgical team to not only detect the lymph nodes in the pelvic sidewall, but also to map them to identify the sentinel lymph nodes.
Only the sentinel lymph nodes are removed for examination to check if there is spread, rather than removing some further, or even all nodes.
Mr Angelopoulos said: “Having the Pinpoint imaging system enables less radical surgery.
“On average, we are looking at a reduction in operating time of one to one-and-a-half hours depending on the surgical difficulty, reducing hospital stay to overnight and risk of lymphoedema reducing to zero per cent from a risk of up to four to five per cent in patients undergoing complete lymph node excision.
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“We are grateful to Rosemere Cancer Foundation for funding the Pinpoint system, enabling us to be the first and currently only gynaecological cancer centre in the North West to identify and map sentinel nodes in this way.”
Rosemere Cancer Foundation works to bring world class cancer treatments and services to cancer patients from throughout Lancashire and South Cumbria being treated not only at Rosemere Cancer Centre but also at another eight local hospital cancer units across the two counties.
The charity funds cutting edge equipment, research, training and other cancer services and therapies that the NHS is unable to afford.
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