Dad says Sheffield hospital scanner bought by charity helped save daughter

The dad of a young cancer patient at Sheffield Children’s Hospital has spoken of his gratitude that special equipment played a key role in her successful treatment.

Thursday, 4th February 2021, 10:00 am

In January 2019, The Children's Hospital Charity unveiled a SPECT/CT scanner. Funded by £800,000 of donations, it has been used in more than 800 patient scans.

Around the same time, doctors at Sheffield Children's found a mass in two-year-old Alice Latham’s abdomen. In the following weeks, her parents received the devastating news that Alice had high-risk neuroblastoma, an aggressive and hard-to-treat cancer.

In the weeks after Alice's diagnosis, the new equipment played a crucial role by enabling her clinicians to locate the cancer more accurately within her body.

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Alice Latham, all smiles on her fourth birthday

Dad Jamie, from Alfreton in Derbyshire, said: “When Alice started her treatment, the chemotherapy hit her tumour hard and it haemorrhaged as a result.

"She needed an emergency CT scan to find out if she was bleeding internally and the scanner helped get her to the right treatment for emergency interventional radiology.

“Throughout her treatment, the SPECT/CT scanner was crucial in making decisions on her condition and care. It meant she could be scanned quickly, without having to be transferred elsewhere.

"For a small child seeing familiar faces is important and the radiology team at Sheffield Children’s have been nothing short of amazing.”

Alice has now entered remission.

Jamie said: "Alice recently celebrated her fourth birthday and is only with us today thanks to the amazing care we received as well as access to specialist medical equipment like SPECT/CT.

“So from the bottom of our hearts, thank you."

Mark Haines, Lead Practitioner in Nuclear Medicine at Sheffield Children’s added: “In Alice’s case, SPECT/CT ensured that we could localise areas of the cancer more accurately than ever before.

“We are also using the SPECT/CT scanner to image patients that we couldn’t previously due to the limitations of the old scanner.

“For example, we can use the scanner to look at the blood supply to the bone in patients that have had hip surgery. The results of the scan then help their clinician decide the best way to treat the patient going forward.

“The SPECT/CT scanner is also now used routinely in anyone who requires a CT scan where the patient has existing metal implants from a previous surgery. It is also used when our main CT scanner is out of use for maintenance and repair, avoiding patients being transferred elsewhere for their scan.”

The Children’s Hospital Charity are currently fundraising to transform the cancer and leukaemia ward which provided Alice’s treatment.

To support the appeal, visit www.tchc.org.uk/donate

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