Isle of Wight author calling on NHS to offer ‘pain-free’ cancer treatment option – Isle of Wight County Press


Posted: September 18, 2020 at 9:55 pm

AN ISLE of Wight author is urging the NHS to use a new technique for treating cancer, after he had the procedure.

In April, Ray Braithwaite was told he had prostate cancer.

It was a Friday afternoon, during lockdown, and he was alone at his Newchurch home with his thoughts and fears. His wife Chris had died just before Christmas.

The following week he was offered the standard two treatment options, surgery or radiotherapy combined with hormone replacement therapy.

He said: "To me, these sounded pretty unpleasant and painful options and each carried with them the possibility of on-going and potentially life-changing side effects.

"I did some research and chose to do a self-referral for a treatment called HIFU, High Intensity Focussed Ultrasound, which is not offered as a primary treatment option by the NHS.

Being the coward I am, I decided to go ahead with the pain-free and less intrusive option of HIFU.

In early July he had the procedure. It was a one-off operation where the cancer was burnt out using high frequency sound waves and although done under general anaesthetic there was no pain.

HIFU is currently not recommended by NICE other than in a controlled trial, but Ray believes it is a credible alternative and shouldn't only be for those who can afford it, or for those accepted on a trial.

He is calling on the NHS to make it a primary treatment option.

Ray, who turns 70 this month and has recently completed his latest work, an illustrated children's book, now feels so good he bought a wetsuit two weeks after his treatment and has started a new hobby paddleboarding although he described it as 'rather tame'.

Ray in his wetsuit, ready for his new hobby of paddleboarding

He said: "Immediately following the procedure I remember feeling just so well and still do.

"I just wish it could be made available to everyone with prostate cancer not just those who can afford it.

"I had to do my own research to find out about it and feel a little disgruntled that it was not suggested by the Oncology Team.

"Hopefully, a little publicity will make people aware of it and may even prompt the NHS to make others aware of the procedure or even offer it as a primary treatment to replace the use of surgery and radiation."

For more information on HIFU for prostate cancer, go to prostatecanceruk.org/prostate-information/treatments/hifu

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Isle of Wight author calling on NHS to offer 'pain-free' cancer treatment option - Isle of Wight County Press

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