New ward offering latest in treatment for cancer

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CANCER PATIENTS across South Yorkshire and beyond will be able to take part in more pioneering treatments as a new £1.3m suite allows it to expand clinical trials and research.

Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield, one of four specialist hospitals of its kind in the UK, has doubled its capacity in a bid to give more people the chance to participate in life-changing studies.

Since 2000 the number of patients taking part in clinical trials has risen from one in 25 to one in five, and it is hoped the new state-of-the-art facility will allow it to expand its operation further.

The suite, which has been paid for through donations to a public fundraising appeal launched two years ago, means Weston Park will also be able to welcome more patients from North Nottinghamshire, North Derbyshire and parts of North Lincolnshire.

It is a further sign the region is a leading light when it comes to cancer research. Last week, the Yorkshire Cancer Research pledged £750,000 towards a new centre for early phase clinical trials, to be based at the University of Leeds.

Professor Rob Coleman, director of the academic unit of clinical oncology at Weston Park Hospital, said: “We are delighted that this new treatment suite has opened its doors to patients.

“The new facilities really are the ‘gold standard’ in cancer care, and would not have been possible without the incredible generosity of members of the public, Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity, Yorkshire Cancer Research and Westfield Health.

“Thanks to the opening of this new suite, patients in the region will now have even more opportunities to take part in pioneering national and international cancer research, paving the way for better treatments and care in South Yorkshire and beyond.”

Along with a new reception and treatment area, a consulting room and two private bedrooms have been built for those requiring longer stays when they trial treatments.

Patients have already begun to witness the benefits the new facility, which has its official opening on Wednesday, will bring.

Former PE teacher Lynne Lavey, aged 65, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after undergoing a hysterectomy in February.

The grandmother, who lives in the Fulwood area of Sheffield, was offered the chance to take part in clinical trials, testing out a new drug alongside regular chemotherapy treatment, to rid her body of the cancerous cells.

She said: “I am a big believer in going forward with things like that. If people hadn’t done the same thing years ago, we would not be where we are now.

“You’re always going to be scared walking into a cancer hospital, but once you’re in that suite it’s a different environment. It feels like you’ve become part of a community.”

Mrs Levey is almost at the end of the 18-week trial, after which scans will reveal how successful it has been.

She said: “There is no sure thing it’ll help me, but if you’re doing it for the future and for other people then it is worthwhile.”