Graeme Moir is a Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon working at The Royal London Trust. Mr Moir has a special interest in the treatment of cancers affecting the skin. He has been using Electrochemotherapy for the last five years.
He says, “The nice thing about Electrochemotherapy is that you can repeat it as often as you need to…you can have two, three or even four treatments.”
In cases of melanoma or breast cancer, where a patient has spent years going through all the other treatments, some of them have reached the end of the line in terms of treatment options. “It’s wonderful that we now have a new treatment, Electrochemotherapy, that can be used after all other treatments. It’s another line of hope for the patient.”
The future for Electrochemotherapy is exciting as it is used in an increasing number of surgical specialties, such as breast, gynaecology and head and neck cancers, as well as treating skin cancer, showing that this is a very valuable addition to the armament against cancer.
Virginia Wolstenholme is a Consultant Clinical Oncologist at Bart’s in London who works in breast cancer and skin cancer. She has been part of a team using Electrochemotherapy for the past four years.
She says, “As well as considering skin cancer patients for Electrochemotherapy, we also take referrals for patients with gynaecological, head and neck and breast cancers. Indications for Electrochemotherapy are palliative disease control of bulky tumours, controlling pain and fungating areas that cannot be achieved with chemotherapy.
It may be used for patients that have exhausted all lines of treatment.
Often patients referred for Electrochemotherapy may only have very small volume cutaneous disease. Electrochemotherapy may be very useful as patients may not want to have a further line of chemotherapy. Patients may not want to use up limited options for chemotherapy and choose to use Electrochemotherapy instead. Patients may have had many lines of chemotherapy as well as radiotherapy and may be quite far along their patient pathway. They may have exhausted a lot of other treatments and not have a lot of other options to help them.
Electrochemotherapy when compared to chemotherapy and other targeted treatments is much cheaper. Electrochemotherapy represents a cost effective way to palliate the patients.
For the future, we will be looking at ways this can be added into other treatments, particularly with immunotherapy to see if we can improve the efficacy of Electrochemotherapy.”