New Equipment At Velindre Cancer Centre To Speed Up Treatment

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Two new linear accelerators – the machines used in the treatment of cancer – will be installed at the Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff, Health Minister Edwina Hart will announce today.

The 8.7million pound Assembly Government investment will bring the total number of machines known as linacs at Velindre to seven.

Mrs Hart will make the announcement when she visits Velindre Cancer Centre later today.

Linacs can be used to accurately target and destroy cancer cells by using computerised three-dimensional reconstruction of a patient's anatomy to allow clinicians to deliver radiotherapy to cancer patients more precisely reducing the risk to healthy organs.

The funding will enable one ageing machine to be replaced and an additional linac to be installed.

This is the latest investment in improving access to cancer services across Wales.

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In August, Mrs Hart announced 2.6million pound Assembly Government funding for the replacement of a linac at the South West Wales Cancer Centre at Singleton Hospital, Swansea.

In July, she approved the latest 12million pound plans for the replacement of two linear accelerators and a CT scanner at the North Wales Cancer Centre at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, Bodelwyddan.

Mrs Hart said: The investment in the new machines at the Velindre Cancer Centre will help improve access to cancer treatment and reduce waiting times for patients. Swift diagnosis and treatment greatly reduces the anxiety experienced by patients and their carers.

Recently, I announced the next steps in delivering improvements to cancer services in Wales. Key to those improvements was investment in prevention as well as speeding up access to diagnosis and treatment. These new machines will help deliver on our cancer waiting times targets.

Coupled with improvements in diagnosis and treatment, we are investing heavily on prevention, through educating people about the importance of a healthy lifestyle, and the need to stop smoking. The introduction of the ban on smoking in enclosed public places has reduced the risk to non-smokers of second-hand smoke and has acted as a stimulus to encourage more people to quit, which will have long-term health benefits.

The roll-out of the human papilloma virus vaccine, which will reduce the risk of cervical cancer, has been added to the routine immunisation programme and men and women between 60 and 69 are receiving bowel cancer screening kits.

Through investment in prevention, speedy diagnosis and treatment, we will reduce the devastating impact that cancer can have on individuals and families and friends.

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