Doctors in Sheffield have been given more than £58,000 to help prevent cases of oesophageal cancer.
Medics specialising in upper gastrointestinal cancer at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital have received the donation from health insurance company Westfield Health, covering the cost of new equipment.
The hospital has invested in a radiofrequency ablation system to treat a condition called Barrett’s oesophagus, which leaves patients at a higher risk of developing cancer.
People with Barrett’s have abnormal cells lining their lower oesophagus – also known as the gullet or food pipe – brought on by long-standing acid reflux from the stomach.
The ablation system consists of an endoscope and a heated coil, which burns away the abnormal cells in a simple procedure. Nearby normal cells then multiply and fill the burned area.
Dr Andrew Hopper, gastroenterology consultant, said: “If we can remove the Barrett’s cells, we will prevent the majority of cases of oesophageal cancer occurring.
“Previously, patients may have needed to have a serious operation if worrying cells were found.”
Oesophageal cancer is the sixth most fatal cancer in the UK. Even with treatment, the five-year survival rate is less than 50 per cent.
Dr Hopper said: “We expect to start to treat at least 20 patients a year from across South Yorkshire with this new technology.
“Westfield Health has been a long-term supporter over the years – support which has helped us continue to innovate.”
Graham Moore, Westfield Health chairman, said: “We are pleased to be able to support the excellent work the gastroenterology department does.”