The actor and Spandau Ballet singer Martin Kemp has opened the new London Gamma Knife Centre at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City of London.
The state of the art Gamma Knife radio therapy machine is able to treat brain tumours with greater accuracy than before. The cancer treatment centre is a £3 million joint venture between HCA, the owners of six leading private hospitals in London and the Barts and The London NHS Trust.
HCA has the largest cancer diagnostic and treatment capability in the UK outside the NHS. Around seven hundred cancer specialists lead medical teams in it’s network of cancer centres all around London supported by the world’s newest technology including the Gamma Knife for brain tumours, the revolutionary robotic CyberKnife and four of the latest linear accelerator radio therapy machines.
Martin Kemp is just about to leave the UK for a sell out tour with his reformed band Spandau Ballet. But as he told the audience after opening the London Gamma Knife centre, he is lucky to be alive.
Fourteen years ago Martin was in North America when he discovered a lump on the back of his head. He flew back and doctors found he had two tumours, one of which was buried deep in his brain. The prognosis was not good.
Surgeons removed the larger tumour and put a metal plate in his skull but the second was in a position where an operation was going to be highly dangerous, possibly causing irreparable damage to his brain. Then Martin heard that Barts had a radio therapy machine which might be able to help him. He was treated there, the second tumour was destroyed and now he has had the ‘all clear’.
“So opening this new Gamma Knife centre means a lot to me personally,” said Martin. “I was very lucky and I know that this machine will be able to help many, many more people and give them the same chance that I got.”
Gamma Knife, despite its name is not invasive and after a detailed mapping of a patient’s tumour using the latest MRI scanning technology, a three dimensional frame is fitted to the head of a patient to prevent movement and to ensure pinpoint accuracy for the radiotherapy beams generated by the Gamma Knife machine.
Neurosurgeon Mr Ian Sabin, who is clinical director of the London Gamma Knife Centre, said the new Centre would bring enormous benefits for patients. “The new machine is highly effective with a success rate of up to 95% for certain benign tumours. It also has a better success rate than surgery for secondary tumours in the brain.”
“The numbers of people requesting this procedure as an alternative to traditional treatments will grow as more people become aware of its benefits,” he said. “Most patients can come here, have their MRI and then have a local anaesthetic for the treatment and then be back at work next day.”
In most cases, Gamma Knife treatment is effective after a single dose and it can be used for many types of tumours both malignant and benign.