Pensioner becomes first to have new treatment

New hope: Bill Milton with his wife, Jackie, after receiving the pioneering treatment, and, inset, with his five grandchildren.
New hope: Bill Milton with his wife, Jackie, after receiving the pioneering treatment, and, inset, with his five grandchildren.
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A CANCER patient has been given a fighting chance of survival by becoming the first person in Sheffield to receive a revolutionary new treatment for liver cancer.

Pensioner Bill Milton, aged 71, was horrified when doctors told him the aggressive cancer in his bowel had spread into his liver and none of the treatments they had tried had worked.

The grandfather-of-five from Deepcar had already had an operation to remove the tumour in his bowel, but surgery is not possible for most liver cancers. Chemotherapy had not worked.

But specialists at the Northern General Hospital thought an experimental new treatment, never before tried in Sheffield, could help.

In September Bill underwent Selective Internal Radiation Therapy at the hospital.

The procedure involved millions of tiny radioactive beads being injected into his liver.

The beads, used to deliver a localised form of radiotherapy, directly attacked the tumour cells.

And now, four months after the retired builder first underwent the treatment, tests are showing the tumours in his liver have shrunk.

The news has given him new hope of surviving his condition.

Bill, who is married to Jackie, 65, and has two daughters, said: “I feel great.

“I can’t express enough how thankful I am to have received this treatment.

“The whole team of surgeons, doctors and nurses have been absolutely fantastic.

“My cancer started in the bowel, and I underwent an operation to remove the tumour.

“However, soon after I was told that I had several tumours in my liver.

“As you can imagine it was a great shock – I’d never even thought for one moment that I’d get cancer in the first place.

“The doctors tried chemotherapy, but no treatment works 100 per cent of the time, so we had to look for other possibilities.”

Bill added: “I hadn’t heard of anything like the SIRT treatment before – but I was willing to try anything!”

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK with 38,000 people diagnosed each year.

In around 50 per cent of patients the cancer spreads to the liver - and most patients cannot be cured by surgery.

Although the SIRT therapy is not a cure, doctors consider it an effective alternative to chemotherapy in shrinking tumours and improving patients’ prognosis.

Dr Trevor Cleveland, who treated Bill, revealed he had been the first person in the city to receive SIRT.

He said: “It is very promising that we have been able to give Bill the SIRT treatment. We are pleased that he has shown a positive early response to the treatment.

“Whilst this can be an effective procedure not all patients are appropriate to receive it.

“It is an experimental treatment at this stage, not a cure, but one that is certainly showing promise for the future.”