A charity-funded clinic helping former cancer patients from Cumbria left with life-impacting treatment side effects has received a £6,000 cash boost from the county’s Hadfield Trust.
The award, which will be equally split over this year and next, will help ensure that the Late Effects PRD (Pelvic Radiation Disease) Clinic at Rosemere Cancer Centre, South Cumbria and Lancashire’s regional specialist cancer treatment and radiotherapy centre at the Royal Preston Hospital, can continue to treat former patients left with symptoms such as incontinence, rectal and vaginal bleeding, erectile dysfunction and pelvic and lower back pain following radical radiotherapy to the pelvic area – the area between the lower tummy and hips.
Although an increasingly effective treatment for cancers such as cervical, womb and other gynaecological cancers, prostate cancer and bowel and bladder cancers, radical pelvic radiotherapy can leave up to 90 per cent of those treated with PRD to a lesser or greater extent post treatment.
Between 2016 and 2019, 236 patients from Barrow-in-Furness and 769 from the Furness Peninsula and the rest of South Cumbria underwent radical pelvic radiotherapy at Rosemere Cancer Centre, meaning that around 904 could potentially now need the clinic’s help.
Rebecca Arestidou, who applied to the Hadfield Trust on behalf of Rosemere Cancer Foundation, explained: “The Late Effects PRD Clinic opened in February 2020, just before the coronavirus pandemic’s first national lockdown.
“It opened with a commitment from Rosemere Cancer Foundation that it would fund its set-up and running costs of £283,521for its first three years so that the needs of cancer survivors, cured but not necessarily well, could be met.
“PRD has long been accepted by both patients and clinicians as a trade-off for survival but its symptoms can be really debilitating and seriously impact on quality of life.
“When the pandemic hit, our funding was floored as supporters who would have helped us raise funds by putting on events or taking part in organised challenges were all locked down. The easing of restrictions is helping see a return to more like normal but this award from the Hadfield Trust is essential to keeping the clinic going until it can be become self-financing.
“The hope was this would be in three years’ time, so in 2022, with hospital trusts from across South Cumbria and Lancashire effectively paying for the treatment of referred patients but we will have to see how things go. One thing is certain though and that is, thanks to organisations like the Hadfield Trust, anyone with PRD has no need to accept it as a compromise for being cancer-free, even if they have already put up with it for years. Instead, they need to ask their GP or consultant for a referral.”
Besides funding from the Hadfield Trust, which in April 2017 also gave money to Rosemere Cancer Foundation to help it fund the conversion of a clinic room at Westmorland General Hospital into a quiet room, the charity has also received grant awards for the PRD Clinic from other South Lakes championing charities, namely the Sir John Fisher Foundation, the Taylor, Newton & Hibbert Charity and the Harold and Alice Bridges Charity.
In addition, there have been further grants from the Lancashire Responding COVID-19 Community Support Fund, the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund, the Hospital Saturday Fund and The Medicash Foundation.
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© Barrnon Media Limited 2021
© 2021 Barrnon Media Ltd