Papillon at St.Luke's

The St Luke’s Cancer Centre, Royal Surrey County Hospital, has become the first location in the South of England to offer the Papillon treatment for rectal cancer. The Papillon machine was delivered on the 19th August 2013 after a major fundraising campaign by BRIGHT (in partnership with GUTS). Until now, Papillon was only available in the UK at the Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology, Liverpool and Castle Hill Hospital, Hull. With the introduction of a Papillon machine to the Royal Surrey, patients from across the South of England can now explore this treatment option. BRIGHT & GUTS have worked together to raise the initial funds for the Papillon machine deposit which has enabled delivery of the machine, allowing patients to explore this treatment option sooner rather than later. However fundraising continues over the coming months to meet the remaining investment required. Please help us in our fundraising - one-off donations of any amount can be made quickly and easily by clicking on the JustGiving logo at the left of this page. Or you could help even more by setting up your own fundraising page on JustGiving to get your family and friends involved.

Papillon (meaning butterfly in French) is a contact radiotherapy treatment suitable for patients with early stage bowel cancer. This treatment offers patients an alternative to major surgery and a better quality of life. The technique reduces the likelihood of a permanent colostomy bag, which is a major issue for many patients.

What is Papillon Radiotherapy?

With the improvements in bowel/colorectal screening in the UK, more patients will be diagnosed with early rectal cancer. Management of this condition has improved beyond recognition in recent years and so have the resources available to help patients make informed treatment choices. Contact radiotherapy using the Papillon technique is one such option and may be suitable for you, a family member or a patient you are supporting.

Treatments are carried out a short distance from the tumour rather than in physical contact. The term X ray Brachytherapy (short distance) has been adopted to best describe the treatment technique. It was first developed in France by Professor J. Papillon for the treatment of rectal cancer and it has now been adopted by several leading cancer centres throughout the world. The treatments are given in high doses (typically 20 Grays per treatment) to an area close to the tumour. This is done every 2 weeks for a total of three outpatient treatments. Aside from some local anaesthetic in the form of cream, no other anaesthesia is required.

Treatment with the Papillon 50 does not destroy muscle function and can avoid surgery along with distressing side effects such as incontinence. Recovery is faster and quality of life is preserved.

If you would like more information about Papillon treatment or to find out if it might be a suitable option for you or someone you know who is suffering from early stage rectal cancer, please contact consultant clinical oncologists Dr Alexandra Stewart or Dr Sharadah Essapen at the Royal Surrey County Hospital.

Dr Stewart

Medical Secretary: Tammy Erod Tel: 01483 406800

Private Secretary: Heather Scott Tel: 01483 207334

Dr Essapen

Medical Secretary: Lucy Birdsall Tel: 01483 406807

Private Secretary: Celia Blaikie Tel: 01483 537758

The Papillon 50 System

This equipment is a completely new design based on advice and guidance from a team of experienced clinical advisors. The latest high frequency servo controlled X-ray generator technology has been combined with real time endoscopic viewing and touch screen control in a compact mobile system. The machine uses 50 kVp X-rays and requires no special facility shielding or other preparation. Treatment accessory packages are being introduced on a progressive basis for several different treatment sites.

The equipment includes:-

  • Patient Support System with optional tilting couch
  • A starter set of sterilisable applicators
  • Endoscope with light source and video camera incorporating computer interface