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Pioneering Training Programme

Pioneering Programme Improves Quality of Life for Cancer Surgery Patients

 Date of release: Wednesday 10th June, 2015


A pioneering training programme has taken place at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust which aims to give NHS staff an insight into innovative rectal cancer surgery which provides better outcomes for patients and improves their quality of life.

Dr Michael Hershman, consultant surgeon, at RWT, is the man behind  the training programme which is specifically for operating theatre personnel in transanal endoscopic procedures for local excision of rectal tumours.  Mr Hershman was the first surgeon in the UK to perform this technique which is called Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery (TEM).

Teamwork is vital as TEM involves a dedicated team and no other hospital anywhere in the world has to date addressed theatre team training in a structured way like the training done at the Wolverhampton hospital.

Dr Hershman said: “This is a first for the Trust. The operation is a keyhole surgery technique which avoid major complex surgery and the need for a bag (stoma).  It utilises a specialy designed scope which passes through the back passage into the rectum. An image of the tumour is projected onto a screen for the surgeon and theatre staff to see.

“The surgeon operates using dedicated fine instruments to remove the rectal tumour from the inside and avoids any cuts on the outside of the patients body suface.  This means that patients recover very quickly and do not need stoma bags.
“The technique is often combined with radiotherapy which may be directed from the outside (external beam) and/or from the inside (Papillon). Currently there are only 4 Papillon machines in the UK and none in the Midlands, so our patients travel to Liverpool if they require Papillon radiotherapy. The Royal Wolverhampton Hospital hopes to obtain a Papillon machine to treat our patients and also those from other Trusts.”

NHS staff from all over the UK attended the training programme, which took place for only the second time in the world.
They were treated to talks around the history and development of transanal surgery and about the local treatment of rectal cancer by Dr Hershman.

Practical sessions also took place in operating theatres and staff also heard from a former cancer patient, Mark Davies, who is the youngest person to have ever had the Papillion treatment, when he was diagnosed with rectal cancer at just 32.
Now 43, Mark, from Manchester, said: “Dr Hershman literally saved my life. It is great that he is able to conduct these training courses.”

Dr Hershman added: " Colorectal Cancer is the second most common cancer in men and women in the UK.  Treatment of early rectal cancer by these new techniques is safer with less complications and avoids a stoma bag. This will become even more important with bowel cancer screening identifying more early rectal cancer and the population is living longer. In addition, some patients refuse treatment if it would involve a stoma bag."

For further information please contact Richard Radcliffe.

Press release issued by the Communications team. For more information contact the team on 01902 695884
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