Brain cancer treatment aid now available

A new treatment aid will allow surgeons to identify areas of the brain affected by cancer more accurately, helping up to 2,000 patients a year.

Known as ‘the pink drink’, 5-ALA uses fluorescent dye and ultraviolet light to make cancerous cells glow under UV light, allowing surgeons to more accurately identify the affected areas of the brain. The treatment aid will help to tackle some of the hardest to treat cases and make sure healthy cells are left untouched.

According to new figures, approximately 2,000 patients a year could benefit from the move.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I am proud to announce we have now rolled out this groundbreaking treatment aid across the country, transforming care for 2,000 patients every year.

“A cancer diagnosis is life-changing, but I want every single patient to feel reassured that they have access to the best and fastest care in our wonderful NHS. While more people are surviving cancer than ever before, we can and must do more, especially for people with few options left like those with rare brain cancer. As part of our Long Term Plan, this new pioneering technology is already saving lives – offering thousands of patients a greater chance of recovery and hope for the future.”

Cally Palmer, National Cancer Director at NHS England, added: “Transforming the lives of millions of people with cancer is at the heart of NHS England’s Long Term Plan and we are rapidly driving forward action to catch more cancers earlier, provide innovative new treatments and save tens of thousands more lives every year.”

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