cancer treatment at Cromwell Hospital
cancer treatment at Cromwell Hospital
11th Mar 2022

This content was produced in partnership with the commercial department of the Financial Times.

With Private Client by Bupa, gaining access to state-of-the-art treatment is par for the course, even for patients with complex diagnoses.

While health services the world over have struggled to cope with the ravages of Covid-19, other branches of the medical profession have had to continue their fight against acute and chronic conditions, including the treatment of cancer.

Cancer Research UK1 estimates that 3m fewer people were screened for cancer between March and September in 2020, resulting in around 9,200 fewer patients beginning treatment in England alone. Recent analysis by the charity also estimates more than 380,000 fewer people were referred than normal in the UK, with around 330,000 fewer referrals in England alone2.

In May, the scale of the effort required to deal with this backlog led the Francis Crick Institute’s Professor Charles Swanton, chief clinician for Cancer Research UK since 2017, to call for investment, especially in specialists, staff, research and diagnostic equipment, that would allow the UK to develop new scientific breakthroughs that will help the cancer patients of tomorrow3.

The private healthcare sector stepped forward to play its part. In London, Cromwell Hospital partnered with the Royal Marsden as part of the Cancer Hub to ensure that NHS patients could continue to receive urgent cancer treatment throughout the pandemic.

Thanks to the hospital’s collaboration with GenesisCare, the UK’s largest private cancer care provider4, the hospital is also able to deliver world-class radiotherapy services and expertise through its recently established GenesisCare Centre for Radiotherapy at Cromwell Hospital (opens in a new window).

The Centre is equipped with one of only seven Leksell Gamma Knife® Icon™ machines in the UK. These machines can efficiently and safely deliver stereotactic radiosurgery for malignant and benign metastatic brain and upper spinal tumours. The Centre also houses a Varian Edge radiosurgery system that can be used on a wide range of cancers, including breast and prostate.

In addition, it is equipped with a MRIdian MR Linac, a Magnetic Resonance Linear Accelerator (MR Linac), which makes the Centre the first London-based service outside a major research centre to provide patients with rapid access to such technology.

The MRIdian combines two technologies — an MRI scanner and a linear accelerator — to precisely locate tumours and tailor the shape of X-ray beams in real time. This allows the MR Linac to deliver doses of radiation with unparalleled accuracy. It can even be used to treat tumours that move.

Guided by a new generation of clinicians who are trained according to the very latest research, machines such as the MR Linac are helping to transform cancer treatment and care. At the GenesisCare Centre for Radiotherapy at Cromwell Hospital, the ability to improve outcomes for patients is founded on an integrative cancer care approach.

“From the moment the patient walks through the door, they can get through their diagnosis and treatment in the most comfortable way possible,” says Jane Lynch, the Centre leader who, as a former cancer nurse specialist with two decades’ experience, has in-depth understanding of cancer patient journeys and requirements.

Following a £20m refurbishment programme, the Centre has taken great care to assemble a highly experienced, multidisciplinary team of clinical oncologists, radiographers, physicists, nursing and maintenance staff, wellbeing and exercise consultants in an environment that supports advanced examination, diagnosis and treatment.

The ability to access such care and treatment, coupled with world-class expertise and state-of-the-art technology, is one of the reasons why an increasing number of high-net-worth individuals are turning to Private Client by Bupa, a new form of premium private health insurance that enables access to the finest treatment globally, wherever it is to be found.

Created by Bupa, the healthcare company that owns Cromwell Hospital, Private Client by Bupa is distinguished by its proactive and holistic approach to health and wellbeing, which embraces a wide range of preventative and complementary treatments, such as those offered by the GenesisCare Centre for Radiotherapy.

The Centre’s London location attracts patients from across the globe who want to access the UK’s leading oncology consultants. As well as specialising in radiotherapy, the Centre also seeks to address the wellbeing of its patients using the services of psychologists and dieticians, and complementary exercise medicine adapted to each patient’s needs.

Even though the Centre is an outpatient facility, it is located inside the Cromwell Hospital, which enables it to treat inpatients with complex requirements that other clinics cannot, such as those with pacemakers or other cardiac complications.

“When I started as a clinical nurse 20 years ago, things were very different,” says Centre leader Jane Lynch. “With incurable cancer, these days we don’t always talk about dying, but we talk about living with it. We can help people live well and live longer with cancer because we are able to provide very targeted treatment with our innovative technology and treatments.”

The accuracy of the new technology means that cancers that once would have been untouchable by radiotherapy can now be treated safely without fear of affecting the surrounding tissue or organs while making radiotherapy faster and more efficient.

“Because of the way we can treat cancer with the MR Linac, we can direct a very high dose of radiotherapy directly to the tumour group,” says Lynch. “For example, traditionally, a radical dose of radiotherapy for prostate cancer would involve the patient coming for treatment up to 35 times. With the MR Linac, they come five times for the same effective dose.”

This article was featured online in the Financial Times’ ‘How to Spend It’ section in September 2021.

1 Cancer Research UK (opens in a new window)

2 Cancer Research UK (opens in a new window)

3 Independent (opens in a new window)

4 Genesis Care (opens in a new window)

Private Client by Bupa is a premium service providing expertly curated health and wellbeing plans insured by Bupa Global.