Television series to highlight Scottish cancer centre

A new documentary series going behind the scenes at the Beatson Cancer Centre in Glasgow.

Starting tomorrow night on BBC One Scotland, the The Cancer Hospital is a three-part series, starting at 9pm, going behind the scenes of the centre.

The Beatson is the second biggest in the UK. It treats a population of almost three million people across the West of Scotland, from Lanarkshire to Ayrshire and includes the Western Isles. A centre of excellence in cancer care, the Beatson offers state-of-the-art treatment, and is heavily involved in the development and trials of new cancer drugs.

This three-part series tells the stories of patients undergoing treatment at the Beatson, showing the work of the medical staff, and revealing how cancer care has improved in leaps and bounds in the past decade.

Each programme focuses on a different cancer – breast, lung, and prostate. These are among the most common in the UK, and account for a large proportion of cancer deaths each year. The Beatson is developing new, innovative approaches to their treatment.

In the first episode the focus is on breast cancer and five women, whose cancers are at different stages, share their stories.

Among them is the 36-year-old mum and GP Louise who is receiving treatment for curable, early-stage breast cancer. She has radiotherapy and chemotherapy, both of which have become more effective and less debilitating over the past 10 years.

But the fact that doctors have recommended she doesn’t have surgery to remove the cancer leaves her worried that it might come back – a common concern.

The programme also follows 50-year-old Jeanine who does have a mastectomy and combined reconstruction, to show how surgery is advancing. Also featured is 25-year-old Jasmin, who has a rare incurable cancer, but who is able to live life mostly as she wants, thanks to advances in cancer drugs.

Marie is another patient to feature in the programme. She was successfully treated for breast cancer seven years ago, but it has returned and she is shown going through with treatments for a second time.

Throughout the series, senior doctors and other staff provide a sense of context for the stories and explain the reality of modern cancer treatment, and how thanks to new treatments, the diagnosis is no longer quite the terrifying and hopeless prospect it once was.