Radiologists Trial New Liver Cancer Treatment

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Published: 8 Jan 2015      

A terminally ill man from Haslingden has become one of the first people in the country to receive a pioneering radiology treatment that could add years to his life expectancy. The cancer treatment, which is dubbed 'Chemostat' was undertaken by Graham Jones as part of a pilot programme at Liverpool’s Aintree University Hospital and doctors are convinced that it will give Mr Jones more time to enjoy despite the fact that his cancer has been deemed inoperable.

Chemostat works by isolating the blood flow to the liver utilising balloons, before blasting the liver with a high dose of chemotherapy. The blood that contains the chemotherapy agent is then filtered before being re-entered back into the bloodstream, with the technique as a whole marking a potential advance in the way chemotherapy is used to treat patients, specifically terminal ones.

Mr Jones was diagnosed with cancer for a second time after a biannual checkup revealed that he had developed a number of tumours on his liver. Previously he had suffered from ocular melanoma, a form of eye cancer, but had recovered following being diagnosed in 2010.

Unfortunately Mr Jones was later struck again with liver cancer, with surgeons stating that the six tumours on his liver were inoperable. Furthermore, traditional uses of radiology techniques such as chemotherapy were deemed as unable to help treat the illness, placing Mr Jones in a terminal condition.

This led to the idea of being part of the pilot scheme being raised, which Mr Jones accepted quickly. He commented: "The idea with the screening programme is that they find the cancer early on, so on the day of my diagnosis I felt as good as I did the day before.

"I didn’t have any symptoms, but unfortunately the tumours cannot be surgically removed or treated with traditional full-body chemotherapy.

"The care I’ve had in Liverpool has been great and I’m impressed by how closely the hospitals all work together.

"I’ve not asked how long I’ve got left and I don’t want to know. I just want to enjoy my life without worrying about a ticking clock. I hope this treatment will extend the quality time I have, however long that may be.”

Mr Jones says that he is determined to live out the rest of his life his way and will continue having fun working as a ski instructor and playing as part of a rock band named 'Panic Attack', who are continuing to gig despite the diagnosis.

He concluded "I wasn’t nervous about the treatment at all. If someone comes along and says ‘you just might live a bit longer with this treatment’, then you jump at the chance."

It is worth pointing out at this point that the treatment is still in the early stages, with these initial tests only being offered to two people in the UK and there is still much to be determined from the long term results of the treatment, specifically in regards to its effectiveness in comparison to traditional techniques.

Dr Pradesh Kumar, clinical lead and consultant interventional radiologist at Aintree University Hospital, helped administer the treatment and seems to be quite optimistic about its chances for success. He stated: "This treatment is an exciting development and one which offers renewed hope for terminally ill patients like Graham.

"Each patient will experience different outcomes, so some may add months to their lives while others could add several years.

"The intention is to extend and improve their quality of life. It means we can offer the hope of patients enjoying another Christmas with their family and friends or celebrating another birthday.”


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