A retired school bursar has become the tenth patient at the Royal Free Hospital to receive a new targeted radiotherapy approach for kidney cancer. 

Alan, from north London, has completed three sessions of stereotatic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR) as treatment for cancer on his kidney.

The treatment, which takes approximately 45 minutes for each session, has proved totally symptom free for Alan, who will continue to be monitored by doctors. SABR, which has already proved a highly effective targeted treatment for early lung cancer, provides patients who are unwilling or unfit, a welcome alternative to surgery.

SABR treatment delivers a curative dose of radiation to tumours with far fewer sessions required than standard radiotherapy. The technique allows radiographers to target the tumour with great precision, and this, combined with the fact that fewer sessions are needed, means patients are less likely to experience side effects.

Alan, 84, had already received chemotherapy for lymphoma and was in remission but further checks were to reveal a tiny ‘dot’ in his kidney which doctors continued to monitor over the last few years. As the tumour continued to grow the decision was taken to treat with SABR. 

Liz Halliday, treatment superintendent radiographer, said: “We only began treating patients this year  with renal SABR and Alan was our tenth patient. As the evidence base for treatment builds and we start to treat earlier stage disease I think we will see many more patients receiving this treatment.”

Alan said: “I’ve received excellent care at the Royal Free Hospital, I tolerated the treatment very well and haven’t felt any sickness. The bed you lie on to receive the treatment is rather hard but of course it’s been worth it. This new treatment has certainly come along at the right time for me. Plus the fact that I’ve had no side effects means I can just go home now and continue with my life. I really enjoy cooking – which my wife Jill appreciates – so we’ll have a nice meal to celebrate.”

Dr Amy Clifford added: “Stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy is an effective and well tolerated treatment addressing an unmet need in patients with inoperable kidney cancer. It is incredible to see how this treatment has developed in such a short space of time. When I completed my specialist training just a couple of years ago this wasn’t available but now we can offer a solution which delivers excellent outcomes for patients.”  

Alan pictured with members of the SABR team.jpg
Alan pictured with members of the SABR team.