Leeds Cares has launched a fundraising appeal today to purchase life-saving surgical equipment at Leeds Cancer Centre.

We hope to raise nearly £170,000 by the summer to purchase a ‘Limax laser’ that can be used to remove tumours from cancer patients.

The Limax laser is a small but extremely precise hand-held device that can be used by surgeons to perform endobronchial treatment - the removal of blockages from the lungs or airway. It can also be used to cut and seal cancerous tissues of varying sizes.

If purchased, the laser will be used in more than 100 life-saving operations every year.

Lung-cancer patient John Hicks has been living with cancer for over ten years and travels to Leeds for treatment from his hometown of Grimsby. He had surgery using the laser as part of a trial in 2016 and said the operation saved his life.

“This surgery gave me a better quality of life and a quicker recovery time. I really don’t think I’d be here now if it wasn’t for the team at Leeds using the laser. It gave my family hope for the future and meant I was able to have more surgeries and further treatment if needed. In the time since, my partner and I have had a beautiful daughter, who’s now two years old. I’m extremely grateful for the extra time given to me by this surgery.”

The Limax laser will offer a new, modern way to perform surgeries that creates huge benefits for patients. Currently, surgery to treat cancer in the lungs or airway is performed via traditional methods using scalpels to cut away growths and tumours. This means healthy tissue is often affected and surgical stents or staples have to be used to keep the organs functioning.

Use of the laser will mean a reduction in damaged healthy tissue, a shorter stay in hospital for the patient and a better quality of life following surgery. The laser may also mean that more people can be offered surgery as traditional methods are sometimes seen as too high risk for older or more vulnerable patients.

Mr Manos Kefaloyannis, Consultant Surgeon at Leeds Cancer Centre says the equipment will be life changing: “Our surgeons have already had experience using this piece of kit so are fully trained on it. It will have huge benefits for the hundreds of cancer patients, like John, who go through surgery here in Leeds. It will also enable us to offer surgery to some patients who were previously classed as inoperable – which could truly be life-saving.”

Paul Watkins, Director of Fundraising at Leeds Cares, said the charity was hopeful they’d reach their £167,000 target before the summer. “We know lots of generous people across Yorkshire want to support the cancer centre as it does such amazing work supporting patients and their families. This piece of equipment really will make a huge difference to the treatment that can be offered to patients, so if you are able to support us with our fundraising, please get in touch today.”