Aintree University Hospital
and the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust have been recognised internationally as leaders in the treatment of a rare form of cancer. The hospitals have received joint accreditation from the European Neuroendocrine Tumor Society
(ENETS). They are one of just four centres of excellence in the UK, and 12 others across Europe in just 7 countries.
Domestic and cross-border medical tourism in Europe for rare diseases such as this type of cancer will increase under proposed cross-border rules. Neuroendocrine tumours affect one in every 50,000 people and are unusual because they are typically slow growing, going undetected for many years. They are mostly found in the intestine, but can occur anywhere elsewhere in the body, including the lungs. The symptoms, which include indigestion, altered bowel habit; wheezing and facial flushing can often be difficult to deal with. Because of their rarity, many doctors are reluctant to treat these patients due to a lack of experience.
Graeme Poston at Aintree University Hospital says, “This is one of only four centres in the UK where people can come for treatment endorsed by ENETS.” Aintree University Hospital and the Royal Liverpool University Hospital have been treating patients with neuroendocrine tumour disease for a number of years. The accreditation acts as a quality assurance and will likely lead to more referrals from GPs in the UK and internationally.
ENETS was founded in 2004 and is the largest endocrine tumor society internationally, with more than 700 members and 16 centres of excellence across Europe. It aims to unify research among European medical professionals and establish guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Professor Martyn Caplin of ENETS says, “The accreditation follows a robust independent audit of the neuroendocrine tumour service at the hospitals and recognises the excellent multidisciplinary care. Liverpool joins three other centres in the UK, which has the most centres in Europe and has become a leading light for care of neuroendocrine tumour patients.” The other UK centres of excellence are the Royal Free Hospital in London, Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester.
Other non-UK accredited centres:
• Zentrum für Neuroendocrine Tumore, Bad Berka, Germany
• Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet, Oslo, Norway;
• Marburger NET Zentrum at Philipps University, Marburg, Germany
• University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium
• Hopital Edouard Herriot, Lyon, France
• Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan, Italy
• Umbria, Regional Cancer Network, Perugia, Italy.
• Charite University Hospital in Berlin
• Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen
• Hopital Beaujon, Clichy ,Paris
• Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam
• University Hospital, Uppsala Sweden