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More than 50 men receive cutting-edge implant for prostate cancer

Prostate cancer patient Dave Clark received the SpaceOAR® hydrogel implant

More than 50 men have benefitted from the use of a cutting-edge implant for prostate cancer at UHNM. The SpaceOAR® hydrogel implant is injected into the space between the prostate and the rectum before curative radiotherapy treatment and can significantly reduce the side effects of radiotherapy by more than 70%. A brief day case procedure is carried out to implant the gel, which protects the organs at risk from potential damage caused by radiation.

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men, with around 130 people diagnosed in the UK every day.

30% of men who develop prostate cancer will be treated with radiotherapy. Of these, about 1 in 10 patients will suffer long term side effects, including bowel and bladder dysfunction, reduced sexual function and reduced quality of life.

UHNM’s radiotherapy team are celebrating a year of the treatment being available at Royal Stoke University Hospital, having begun during the pandemic in October 2020.

71-year-old Dave Clark is a retired science teacher from Stafford. He was given the option of receiving the SpaceOAR® hydrogel implant after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in March 2021.

Dave said: “I was more than happy to have the treatment because I knew it was going to provide me with a level of protection. I would definitely tell other people to go for it, there’s not a down side really.

“The staff and facilities at UHNM were amazing. I was treated on a brand new machine. It was all very reassuring.

“The whole process went by very easily and comfortably without any upset, there were no problems whatsoever. I can’t imagine it being any easier from a patient’s point of view.”

Dave Clark and Dr Rajanee Bhana, consultant oncologist

Studies have shown that side effects of radiotherapy - rectal pain, bleeding and diarrhoea - can be reduced by more than 70% when using the gel, significantly improving quality of life for those battling prostate cancer.

Dr Rajanee Bhana is the first consultant oncologist to introduce the treatment in the West Midlands.

Dr Bhana said: “We want all patients who come to us with prostate cancer to know that this pre-treatment is available to them. We are particularly proud that we were able to launch this service during a pandemic. It makes a real difference to people’s lives and we are very pleased that more than 50 men have now been able to receive it.”

SpaceOAR® hydrogel is implanted under ultrasound and stays in place for three months. Patients are able to receive the implant and complete their course of radiotherapy within the three-month period. The water-based gel then dissolves and is disposed of naturally.

Bobby Badesha, senior business development specialist at Boston Scientific, said: “We’re really pleased to be able to deliver this innovative and life-enhancing treatment. Before the introduction of SpaceOAR® hydrogel implant, patients would have to work around the long term side effects of radiotherapy and this had a really detrimental effect on their lives.  Now they can live more freely.”

Bobby Badesha, senior business development specialist at Boston Scientific

SpaceOAR® Hydrogel is the only spacing product supported by NHS England and has already been used to help more than 100,000 prostate cancer patients worldwide.