Breast cancer treatment to start within weeks

The North West Cancer Centre at Altnagelvin Hospital.
The North West Cancer Centre at Altnagelvin Hospital.

Radiotherapy treatment for breast cancer patients at the North West Cancer Centre will begin within weeks, it has been confirmed.

Andrew Reilly, Head of Physics at the North West Cancer Services, said that the treatment of head and neck, bladder and rectum cancers and a range of palliative therapies are also expected to be fully operational by mid-summer.

He was speaking at an event at the City Hotel on Friday organised by the Pink Ladies to mark World Cancer Day.

Since the end of December, all prostate cancer patients living across the western area of the north and most of Donegal are being treated at the new cross-border centre.

Speaking about the next wave of patients, Mr Reilly said: “The intention is at the end of this month we want to start accepting breast cancer patients into the system, which means treating at the beginning of next month.

“By the end of next month we can accept all of the referrals, which means by April we will be fully open for prostate and breast.”

Speaking about the other cancer patients to be accommodated at the centre, he added that at present it was expected that all referrals would be made the end of May, meaning that the Centre in Derry will be fully operational by around July.

Mr Reilly said feedback from the patients so far has been very good. “They have enjoyed the new building, and it’s been very encouraging in that they appreciated the contact with staff, the conversations. They haven’t felt like they are being rushed through the system or they are just another number.”

(For more on the Pink Ladies event see Page 40.)