Coveted BMJ award bestowed on The Clatterbridge Cancer Center

A coveted British Medical Journal award was recently bestowed on the Papillon Contact X-ray Brachytherapy team at he Clatterbridge Cancer Center. The Cancer Care Team of the year category was won by the entry—Papillon for Rectal Cancer.

This life-changing treatment was pioneered at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre when Lead Papillon Clinician, Professor Arthur Sun Myint, initially introduced the method to the United Kingdom, more than two decades ago. He stated that the honor was the reward for his, and the other 3 UK Papillon sites, the team’s hard work and their philosophy of always putting patients’ interest first.

I was very humbled. This is a reward for 25 years of blood sweat and tears and championing the rights of our patients.

Patient care is at the Center of everything we do. Since 1993 we have been offering an alternative to surgery and a stoma for our patients.

As demand grows for Papillon treatment, we are also helping to educate and train clinicians to provide a wider service in the UK and beyond."

Professor Sun Myint

An alternative in the management of lower rectal cancer

As an alternative to radical surgery, the non-operative local management of rectal tumors, via the application of external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) or external beam chemoradiotherapy (EBCRT), is slowly gaining acceptance as a curative, organ-saving procedure – also known as ‘Watch and Wait.’

Yet, local regrowth can develop in up to one-third of patients which can be cured only through salvage surgery. As a result, the patients’ overall chance of organ preservation is reduced to less than 40%.

Organ preservation has been shown to be improved, with local regrowth being reduced to approx. 11%, when a high dose ‘boost’ of X-ray Brachytherapy is applied prior to or after the conventional EBCRT/EBRT; this is known as the Papillon Technique.

The Papillon team at the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre laid out the goal of the service—to lower stoma and surgical mortality rates by recommending a transition from radical surgery to non-surgical, minimally invasive treatment. Today this has become more pertinent than ever, with the aging population and the increase in earlier stage tumors being detected since the advent of the National Bowel Screening Program.

The submission also underscored achievements such as the Papillon treatments’ recommendation and recognition by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in 2015, the collaborative multi-center approach to the Papillon treatment with 4 UK sites already treating patients, as well as a survey performed by NICE that indicated a high level of patient satisfaction.

At the Clatterbridge Cancer Center, the Papillon Suite has recently celebrated its silver anniversary. Since its inception at the Wirral hospital 25 years ago, workers have treated 1450 rectal cancer patients.

BMJ awards

The BMJs are known to be the leading medical awards in the UK and were presented at the Park Plaza Westminster Hotel in London on Thursday 10th May 2018.

The other finalists in the category are as follows:

  • the Barts Health Cancer Care at Home
  • the Nurse Led Immunotherapy Clinic at Leeds Cancer Centre
  • the ORTC Program at Oxford University Hospitals
  • the RAPID Program at Wythenshaw Hospital in Manchester
  • Improving Breast Screening at Medway NHS Foundation Trust

The BMJ Awards are now in their 10th year, promoting excellence in healthcare and recognizing the inspirational work of healthcare workers throughout the country.

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