UHG first public hospital to use pioneering cancer treatment

Galway daily news UHG rolls out pioneering prostate cancer treatment

University Hospital Galway is the first public hospital in Ireland to make use of a new treatment for prostate cancer.

UHG recently began using high dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy for patients, which had only been available at the Mater Hospital before now.

Radiation Oncologist at UHG Dr. Cormac Small said “We felt that this treatment modality should be made available to all patients and this was fully supported by hospital management and the National Cancer Control Programme.”

Bringing this treatment to Galway extensive training for members of the Radiation Department that included visits to the Mater, the Northern Ireland Cancer Centre in Belfast, and Poitiers University Hospital in France.

On top of making this treatment available to cancer patients in Galway, the team at UHG will lead its roll-out in other public hospitals around Ireland.

“We envisage that UHG will lead a programme to roll out the prostate HDR service to the radiotherapy centres in Cork and Dublin,” said Dr. Small.

High dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy or temporary brachytherapy is a type of internal radiotherapy which involves inserting thin tubes into the area being treated.

A source of radiation is then passed down the tubes into the prostate for a few minutes to destroy cancer cells.

This allows an increase in the dose of radiation to the prostate whilst reducing the exposure to surrounding tissues.

With this new technique doctors will be able to use this treatment on a wider range of patients.

Ireland has the highest incidence of prostate cancer in Europe with over 3,400 men diagnosed annually, which is expected to climb as our population ages.

Chris Kane, General Manager, Galway University Hospitals commented, “Considerable advances have been made in both the surgical and radiotherapy options available in UHG in recent years.”

“I am delighted that we now offer our patients a full range of radiotherapy options for treating prostate cancer: external beam radiotherapy, seed implant brachytherapy and now HDR brachytherapy.”