Patients receiving treatment at the Macmillan Cancer Unit at Leighton Hospital now have access to state-of-the-art medical equipment, thanks to a generous donation from charity organisation Boot Out Breast Cancer.
The charity has provided the Crewe-based Unit with a scalp-cooling DigniCap system, designed to help cancer patients avoid chemotherapy-related hair loss. During clinical tests in Europe and Asia, the system, developed by Dignitana, resulted in eight out of ten women retaining their hair during chemotherapy.
The funds for the equipment were raised through the charity’s annual Bollywood Ball event, which was held in March and attended by a number of celebrities including patrons Alan Shearer, Andy Burnham MP and Dame Sarah Storey, Great Britain’s most decorated female Paralympian. Overall, this year’s event raised in excess of £125,000 to provide the DigniCap technology to the NHS, and Leighton Hospital was chosen to be the very first hospital in the UK to receive a donated DigniCap System.
The system was unveiled on Thursday, June 12, 2014, by Dame Sarah Storey alongside Debbie Dowie, the charity’s founder and a breast cancer survivor.
One aspect of breast cancer care that resonated strongly with Debbie was the emotional devastation faced by many cancer patients at the prospect of losing their hair during chemotherapy. She travelled the UK and US to learn more about medical devices that prevent chemotherapy-related hair loss, but was dismayed to discover that most were difficult and uncomfortable to use. When she learned about DigniCap and that it was preferred by oncologists and patients alike, she quickly moved to bring the technology to NHS hospitals.
“I am delighted that we have been able to bring this fantastic technology to Crewe, as in my visits to cancer patients and their oncologists in the US and across the UK, I’ve heard nothing but praise for the DigniCap. This system will help us to make a real difference to the lives of cancer patients in the local community.
“My own experience with breast cancer taught me that it is essential to have confidence not only in yourself, but in your medical team and the treatments they recommend as well. We want to ensure that anyone with a cancer diagnosis has access to the highest quality cancer care available today.”
The scalp-cooling DigniCap system works by continually monitoring the temperature of the scalp, ensuring comfortable and consistent treatment application. It is the only system that can be offered with clinical evidence, confidence and consistent results at temperatures above freezing, which makes for a less stressful and much more comfortable patient experience.
Speaking about the donation, Del Owen, Clinical Nurse Manager for Cancer at Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are truly grateful to Debbie, Sarah and everybody at Boot Out Breast Cancer for providing us with this life-changing equipment. It is fantastic that we have been chosen to receive the DigniCap system, and everybody in the team here is excited at the benefits that having access to this technology will bring to our patients.”