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Patients Begin Receiving our Innovative Radiotherapy Cancer Treatment


 (L-R) Savvas Rizkalla (Head of Radiotherapy Physics), John King (Medical Physicist, Zoe Rowett (Operational Lead), Charlotte Mcalinden (Senior Radiographer), Nikki Snell (Senior Radiographer) and Dr John McGrane (Clinical Oncologist) and Trustee of Sunrise Appeal – LA4 bunker


We are delighted to share that patients across Cornwall are now receiving Surface Guided Radiotherapy (SGRT) at the Sunrise Centre, an innovative new system funded by the Sunrise Appeal which helps deliver this cutting-edge cancer treatment.

SGRT enables enhanced setup and treatment accuracy across a range of treatment sites, including breast, lung and pelvis. The new treatment method uses a system of cameras and lights which allow the radiographers to position patients with enhanced accuracy for their radiotherapy treatment. 

The camera projects light onto the patients skin to compare their position to an effective pre-planned position. This then creates coordinates that the radiographers use to adjust specialist ‘6 degrees of freedom’ couch tops (which were also funded by the Sunrise Appeal with a grant of £460,000) to move the patient to the right position for treatment.

The SGRT system also monitors the patients position while the radiotherapy is being delivered, automatically shutting off if movement is detected – which makes the treatment much safer for patients than the current CCTV monitoring.

The Sunrise Centre has become the first Radiotherapy department in the south west to use this SGRT system clinically.

Zoe Rowett, the Sunrise Centre’s Operational Lead in Radiotherapy, had this to say of the new treatment: 

“The difference really is a substantial step up for the care we can offer, as SGRT can apply treatment to sub-millimetre accuracy. Traditionally, patients have to be permanently tattooed with 3-4 tracking points to receive this kind of treatment, whereas SGRT uses a minimum of 10,000 purely digital tracking points.”

“Over the years we’ve received post-treatment feedback from patients that their tattoos are an unfortunate physical reminder of the cancer journey they have been through. Without the funding from the Sunrise Appeal we would not have been able to offer this service in Cornwall, and their continued support will enable radiotherapy in Cornwall to continue to be at the forefront of future advancements.”

The SGRT system was installed earlier this year thanks to a grant from The Sunrise Appeal. Our Trustee and Treasurer, Colin Micklewright, added:

“We were delighted to approve a considerable grant of £502,000 to support the installation of this new system last year, and it’s fantastic that cancer patients in Cornwall are already able to receive the treatment through this new method. 

Our mission is to maintain the Sunrise Centre’s state-of-the-art status, and that’s why we’re delighted to see this latest addition to cancer treatment options at the Sunrise Centre in action.”

The Sunrise Centre has been successfully using the SGRT clinically since July 2023, and as of November, certain groups of patients have begun tattoo-less treatment. Soon, the aim is that all patients receiving radiotherapy will not require permanent tattoos.

Since 2001, the Sunrise Appeal has raised over £3.6m and donated over £2.9m to the Sunrise Centre for buildings and equipment. The Appeal has also granted bursaries of £181,437 to the staff working there. 

This support helps ensure that the Sunrise Centre provides outstanding cancer treatment and services within Cornwall, and enabled the RCHT Treliske to recruit and retain excellent staff in the oncology department. 

The whole team at the Sunrise Appeal extend their thanks to all their supporters. Every donation, large or small, makes a massive difference and we truly couldn’t deliver such a high standard of care across Cornwall without you.