Ipswich Hospital has become the regional centre for the treatment of some liver, kidney and other cancers after it has become one of only six places in the country to receive a revolutionary new radiotherapy machine.

The state-of-the-art equipment allows clinicians to use an image taken during a CT scan to place a needle into the centre of a liver or kidney tumour and destroy the cancer cells using heat from microwave energy, a process called ablation.

As well as being accurate to within 0.2mm, the system also allows clinicians to make sure the whole tumour has been destroyed while their patient is still under general anaesthetic.

The technology, which is made by Cascination, was used for the first time at Ipswich Hospital in early January and is also available to patients from Colchester.

Its introduction means that Ipswich Hospital is now able to treat patients who would previously have travelled to Cambridge.

Consultant radiologist Simon Smith has so far carried out three liver procedures and one on a kidney tumour, and hopes to roll out the technology to treat lung cancer over the coming months.

East Anglian Daily Times: Simon Smith and consultant radiologist Paul Jennings using the new equipment.Simon Smith and consultant radiologist Paul Jennings using the new equipment. (Image: East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust)

He said: “We are delighted with this new equipment, which is allowing us to perform much more accurate ablations than were previously possible.

"This is great news for our patients, as it means that some who previously had to travel elsewhere can now receive treatment closer to home.

“As the system is so accurate, there are far fewer complications, with the majority of patients able to return home the same day.

“The successful introduction of this technology has been a real team effort, and our thanks go to everyone who has supported the project, including consultant anaesthetists Dr Kate Turner and Dr Paul Mallett, as well as our anaesthesia and radiology teams.

"We are also incredibly grateful to both the Network Initiative Fund and the Jean Ratcliff Cancer Thermal Ablation Fund.”

As the new technology is much more accurate, it is expected that fewer than 9% of patients will need additional treatment.