HOSPITALS in Huddersfield and Calderdale are leading the way in cancer care.
A report found that the Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust – which oversees care at both our hospitals were smashing a series of targets outlined by the Department of Health.
And they are rated as the second highest recruiter in Yorkshire for Cancer Research Network port-folio trials.
In total, the trust is running 37 trials for different types of cancer, with a further seven trials in the set-up phase and around 20 under construction.
They have also played an important part in the study of Avastin – which has just been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the treatment of women with advanced ovarian cancer, in combination with chemotherapy.
Through blocking the development of blood vessels in tumours, it has been shown to halt ovarian cancer for six months longer on average than chemotherapy alone and prolong the lives of sufferers.
Trial chief Dr Barbara Crosse said: “Through running trials, we make step by step progress in cancer medicines.
“Whether the results are positive or negative they are very important.
“We are very pleased that Avastin has been approved by the EMA as it is a step forward in the right direction and we are very proud of our track record in cancer care and research.
“We are also seeking to build on it by looking for new studies and we are constantly researching new trials.
“If there are other trials running at other institutions that we are unable to offer for some reason, we will offer a referral to St James’ Hospital, Leeds, or another hospital if it is in the patient’s best interest.”
The hospitals trust has a strong reputation in dealing with ovarian cancer and the oncology team has been offering care and chemotherapy treatments for more than 10 years.
Survival figures for ovarian cancer are twice the rate of those women diagnosed in the 1970s, which indicates an improvement of treatment and diagnosis.
In a report presented to the members of the board of the Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield Primary Care Trust Cluster, waiting times for cancer patients at the trust were shorter than average.
All patients received treatment, surgery or were placed on an anti-cancer regime within 31 days of a cancer diagnosis.
This is well above the DoH target of 94% of patients.
The proportion of patients seen within two weeks of an urgent GP referral for suspected cancer was 98.4%. And 94.7% of patients were seen within two weeks of an urgent referral for breast symptoms – where cancer was not initially suspected.
Cancer manager at the Trust Angela Walton said: “We continue to exceed targets because we put the patient first. Cancer is all around us and it affects us and our families at some point. It is not just something that happens to somebody else.
“Just because we are set the targets, doesn’t mean we have to meet them – we strive to do better, see patients quicker and continually improve on them.
“There is a huge psychological impact on people waiting for treatment, even as an outpatient, there is an effect, so we aim to get them seen as soon as possible.
“However some people disclose that they would like the time to discuss with their loved ones and the 31-day target allows for them to do that
“Screening has improved as has people’s awareness of cancer.”
Women with ovarian cancer, who believe that they may be suitable for Avastin treatment are asked to discuss it with their oncologist and specialist team.