Our Achievements

How your donations have helped to support our cancer patients...

View our £10 Million Appeal Celebration video, and see just some of the ways in which the YCC has supported the Bexley Wing and the 2,000 patients treated at Leeds Cancer Centre every day here.

On Tuesday 7th June we celebrated reaching our £10,000,000 target, set when the appeal was launched in June 2007!

We gathered with supporters to recognise this great achievement reached with help from all our supporters over the years. But it doesn't stop here, we still continue to raise funds to support the patients of Bexley Wing.

To everyone who has supported us over the years we would like to say a massive THANK YOU for all you have done.

Your fundraising has helped the city become a leading light in the global cancer research field.

Edward Ziff, chairman of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals’ Charitable Foundation, told the Yorkshire Evening Post, “Today marks a great achievement – by the people of Yorkshire, for the people of Yorkshire. I am immensely proud of the role that this appeal has played, and will continue to play, in developing these facilities into a world-class centre of excellence in cancer care.”

Appeal director Sheila O’Shea says, “We feel quite privileged to have come so far and of course it’s due to our fundraisers, to our donors, our volunteers, to everybody who’s ever put 10p in a box, to those who have put £1m towards this appeal. It’s a tremendous achievement and it’s to them that we owe our gratitude.”

For some lovely photos from the celebration evening, have a look on our Facebook page.



Nanoknife Celebration

We’re delighted to have reached anther fundraising milestone in 2016 - our £160k target to purchase a NanoKnife for patients at the cancer centre. We had the opportunity to thank our major donors last night when they attended a celebration event in Bexley Wing.

The NanoKnife offers an alternative treatment for tumours when surgery and radiotherapy are not possible. The Nanoknife is used to destroy inoperable tumours in the lungs, kidney, breast, prostate and pancreas. The revolutionary procedure uses special needles to fire electrical pulses into the cancer cell walls, destroying tumours. The treatment is non-invasive and patients experience few or no side effects and are able to leave hospital the next day.

Funding for the NanoKnife means we can continue to carry out life-saving procedures on a range of cancer patients. Dr Tze Wah, Consultant Interventional Radiologist leads the team in Leeds, which have already performed 27 life-saving procedures on patients with kidney, liver and pancreatic cancers.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our donors and fundraisers for their support. Much of the money was raised through the YCC Ball and generous donations from Caravan Guard, Halifax; John Cotton Group, Mirfield; Wah Kwong Chinese Association; The Biswas Foundation and the John Hainsworth Bates Charitable Trust and Timothy Cavill.

Have a look at our Facebook page for more photos from a lovely evening in Bexley Wing Atrium.



Hazel (Baz) Rodger writes about the Radiotherapy-funded items for the Department

Belly Boards

Some patients are required to lay on their front for their radiotherapy treatment, which can be uncomfortable and it is difficult to keep still to ensure the treatment is delivered as it was planned. So the money provided by the YCC allowed us to purchase some “Belly Boards”. These are specific pieces of equipment that have been designed to support patients laying on their front and improve the patient’s comfort during their treatment; they also assist the patients in keeping still so that the treatment is reproducible and is delivered as planned. The evaluation stage of these belly boars is now complete and the implementation of them into routine practice is underway.


Improving the patient experience is at the heart of all we do, this includes things such as; delivering the most advanced type of radiotherapy treatments available, delivering treatment as quickly as possible to ensure that patients are not laid on a hard couch top for any longer than necessary, imaging patients to ensure the treatment is being delivered as planned, providing accurate information to patients throughout their treatment to ensure they get the best possible treatment and care, and streamlining our workflows to ensure we reduce the time it takes to plan patients and begin their radiotherapy.

Streamlining workflows is critical in ensuring we are able to improve our efficiency and improve the patient pathway. The purchase of Synergistiq software allows us to do just that, it also provides us with lots of auditable data to help us continually review and improve the techniques we deliver to our patients. This has already been in place across 50% of the treatment machines where it is needed, the YCC money enables us to update the remaining 50% to ensure the treatment machines where it is needed now have this fantastic new technology.

Deep Inspiration Breath Hold Timer

The money donated by the YCC has allowed our breast team to implement a change in practice to improve Breast radiotherapy. A group of patients are now being treated with Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) - this technique is not suitable for all patients but for those it is suitable for it can reduce the radiation dose to the heart. For patients where this technique is suitable the patient is asked to hold their breath for the duration of treatment - this is incredibly difficult to do without some kind of aide to know how long this is likely to be. The YCC money allowed us to develop a simple visual prompt for patients to see a countdown timer that displays the time they need to hold their breath. Additionally this visual prompt may have other patient benefits, we are hoping to expand its use to help with visualisation techniques for anxious patients.



PICC service benefits patients with ECG-guided probe system

Nautilus© provides clinician's with the latest innovative ECG catheter tip placement technology. The system is clinically proven to reduce patient exposure to X-ray radiation and eliminate the wait for X-ray by providing the clinician with accurate, real-time tip confirmation.

This technology allows pinpoint accurate placement of PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) using electrodes to sense the electrical impulses in the heart which confirms in real-time the correct placement of the catheter. This removes the need for repositioning and stops demand for check X-Rays, permitting a much improved experience for Senior Operating Department Practitioner, Julie Ainsley said: "This equipment which cost £8,635, has made such a huge difference to our patients. it means that patients can have the line inserted on the ward to prepare them for chemotherapy, rather than going to Theatre. The change has been so successful that up to 25 insertions per week are now carried out by the specialist PICC nurse."



Four Dermatoscopes for Dermatology Department

Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer and its incidence in the UK has dramatically increased in the past few decades. Dermatoscopy is a simple and non-invasive examination of the skin using skin surface microscopy (a dermatoscope). It allows visualisation of a variety of patterns and structures in skin lesions that are not discernible to the naked eye and so aid is differentiating between benign and malignant skin lesions. Consultant Dermatologist, Dr Angara Mitra said: ‘We have seen a steady and significant rise in our Dermatology 2-week- wait skin cancer referrals from 2007 (1140 referrals) to 2015 (5185 referrals), at Leeds Teaching Hospitals. There are currently 170 patients seen per week in dermatology skin cancers clinics. These dermatoscopes are particularly important in the weekly pigmented lesion clinic at Leeds Cancer Centre and this funding for the additional number and types of dermatoscopes will now increase the efficiency of our specialist pigmented lesion service for high risk patients who may develop malignant melanoma. Dr Mitra added: ‘With the summer months just ahead, I urge anyone who notices new or changing lesions on their skin to consult their GP’.



Comfort Care Packs

The Comfort Care Pack is a way of enhancing the care and support that wards provide for relatives of patients who are in the last days and hours of life.

The care packs are gifted to relatives and carers of a dying patient on Leeds Cancer Centre Clinical Service Unit (CSU) Wards J84, J88, J89, J93, J94, J96, J97 & J98.

A comfort pack includes: £5 M & S voucher, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, wet wipes, tissues, mints, eye mask, ear plugs, V-shaped pillow, lip balm, writing pad and pen, supporting information and feedback form.

End of Life Care Nurse, Claire Iwaniszak said: ‘The value of the packs to recipient's lies in the gesture of being thought about during what is an extremely difficult time for them. We would not be able to fund these comfort packs through ward funds and we are very grateful to YCC appeal for providing £4,031 for a whole year’s supply for the Leeds Cancer Centre CSU wards. Families and carers who wish to stay with their loved ones in their last hours and days really appreciate this gesture during a very difficult personal time’.



New £17,000 mobile Ultrasound for Radiology

Malignant pleural effusion is a condition in which cancer causes an abnormal amount of fluid to collect between the thin layers of tissue (pleura) lining the outside of the lung and the wall of the chest cavity. Lung cancer and breast cancer account for about 50-65% of malignant pleural effusions.

The Respiratory team at Leeds Cancer Centre have set up a dedicated clinic for malignant pleural effusions (of any cancer site) to allow timely assessment and management of this condition.

Consultant Respiratory Physician, Dr Kirsty Rodger writes: ‘Malignant pleural effusions are unfortunately a common complication of metastatic* malignancy, resulting in a significant symptom burden for patients with incurable cancer. To manage these effusions has often meant repeated hospital admissions and uncomfortable pleural interventions/drainages. In order for us to be able to assess and advise each patient appropriately, we can now perform a pleural ultrasound in clinic to assess the suitability of treatment options. Acquiring the YCC-funded Sonosite Ultrasound will greatly benefit patients through immediate and accurate assessment, saving them additional discomfort and tiring hospital visits and admissions. In addition, the equipment will help us achieve our aim to streamline this dedicated service for our patients.

* Metastatic cancer is a cancer that has spread from the part of the body where it started (the primary site) to other parts of the body.



Brachytherapy - Bonvoisin Oesophageal Applicator Set

The Bonvoisin Gerard oesophageal applicator is specially designed to assist in the treatment of oesophagus brachytherapy*.

The applicator has a tapered flexible tip to improve patient insertion and assist in reaching the correct treatment depth. It also assists in centering the treatment catheter internally to minimise mucosal dose, and subsequently reduces side effects from the treatment. More patients can now be treated using this technique.

Consultant Clinical Oncologist, Dr Ganesh Radhakrishna said: ‘The Oesophageal Applicator set improves the likelihood of successful treatment for more patients with difficult to access oesophageal cancers. The applicator is placed orally as opposed to via the nasal passage and therefore is more comfortable and secure for patients. The equipment will likely reduce insertion times and help to alleviate patient discomfort. All treatments are image-guided and individually planned to account for patient’s specific topography on the dedicated treatment planning system. We are grateful for this appeal-funded enhancement to Leeds Cancer Centre’s Brachytherapy service for patients with oesophageal cancer’.

*Brachytherapy is a form of radiotherapy given by directly introducing a radiation source into the area to be treated. (High Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy utilises a dedicated treatment machine in conjunction with site-specific applicators designed to hold the radioactive source)




3000th Patient Undergoes Hi-Tech Brachytherapy at Leeds Cancer Centre

Leeds Cancer Centre at St James's University Hospital has seen its 3000th patient successfully undergo LDr brachytherapy to treat prostate cancer. Brachytherapy in the UK was pioneered at Leeds in 1995, and the centre has treated more patients this way than any other hospital in the country.

LDR brachytherapy is a targeted form of internal radiotherapy and an effective, minimally invasive treatment for prostate cancer with significant quality of life benefits over alternative treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy.

The 3000th patient is 62 year old Edward Boynton, who runs the Nags Head at pickhill, near Thirsk. He explained, "when my Gp referred me to a specialist about my prostate after a routine health check, I was straight on the phone to a friend who is a retired doctor. He asked me what the Gleason reading was and advised me to ask about brachytherapy as an option which would least disrupt my life. I was delighted when they told me that I was suitable to have the procedure and be back at work within a day or so."

You can read more about LDR Brachytherapy and Mr Boynton's Story in our newsletter.


Sentinel Node Surgery - A Wonderful Improvement In Breast Cancer Management

Sentinel node biopsy is a technique which helps determine if a cancer has spread (metastasized).

The concept of the 'sentinel' node, or the first node to drain the area of the cancer, allows a more accurate staging of the cancer and leaves unaffected nodes behind to continue the important job of draining fluids.

"We were among the first Units in the country to promote sentinel node surgery and it was available to patients within the Leeds and Yorkshire area at a very early time." Mr Kieran Horgan, Consultant Surgeon, Clinical Lead, Breast Surgery at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust told us, "We requested a replacement of our sentinel node probe with a more updated model from the Ball funding. We are extremely grateful that we can now purchase a new probe and equally grateful for all the fundraising efforts that people complete in order to assist both the treatment and research of breast cancer."


Intra-Operating Nerve Monitoring Device

Intra-operative nerve monitoring has the potential to reduce the risk of substantial voice change after thyroid surgery.

Voice is an important part of how we see ourselves and it can become very weak if there is nerve damage during surgery. Although it usually recovers, some patients struggle for months straining to make themselves heard and this can affect their work and social life and is very upsetting.

The nerve is seldom visibly damaged but constantly monitoring the function of the nerve during surgery gives an early warning when the nerve is being stressed by traction or dissection nearby. This has become routine in some European countries and in North America and we are very excited that we will now be able to introduce nerve monitoring for our patients in Leeds.


Adding a Little Sunshine & Flowers

Several ward enhancements have been made possible thanks to YCC Appeal funding. Wards J82, Haematology, J83, J84, J89, and J93 have installed some beautiful wall images that not only brighten up otherwise clinical areas, but also provide way-finding assistance by clearly identifying ward numbers.

Isolation rooms in particular have benefited with an entire wall of relaxing images of the outdoors.


YCC Appeal Funds ImSimQA Software to Enhance Radiotherapy Treatment Planning

There is an ever-present drive to improve the accuracy of radiotherapy treatment delivery. Clinical scientists at Leeds Cancer Centre are investigating the benefits of combining MRI with the planning CT scan, anticipating that it could improve treatment outcomes for patients.

"Funding for this innovative ImSimQA software will enable scientists to use MRI, pET and CT scans to define where patients’ tumours are more accurately." Richard Speight, Clinical Scientist, Radiotherapy physics explains.

"This will allow Radiotherapy treatments to be planned more accurately which should improve the effectiveness of treatments. Initial results are very promising and I have already presented results obtained with ImSimQA at an international conference in Barcelona. It is hoped that results taken using this software will provide the basis of changing Radiotherapy treatment practice to benefit Leeds patients within the next 6 months."