Beatson Oncology Centre

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File:BWSCC personal archive 26 May 2007 P Debruyne.JPG
The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre (Main Entrance), Glasgow, UK, May 2007

The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre (formerly called Beatson Oncology Centre) is a specialised cancer care centre in Glasgow, Scotland. Until recently it had facilities in Gartnavel General Hospital, the Western Infirmary and Glasgow Royal Infirmary. As part of the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Acute Services Review, the centre has being concentrated within new facilities at the Gartnavel General Hospital site.


In 1890, an organization called the Glasgow Cancer and Skin Institution (founded 1886; 400 St Vincent Street) acquired a house at 163 Hill Street. The ten-bed hospital was one of the first hospitals in the world solely dedicated to the treatment of Cancer. In 1893, Dr. George Beatson (later Sir George Beatson KCB, KBE), was appointed surgeon to the hospital. The following year, the "Glasgow Cancer Hospital" (the first of its kind in Scotland), was established, together with an outdoor dispensary, at 22 West Graham Street. A domiciliary nursing service was set-up at the same time to care for cancer patients in their own homes. In 1896, new premises (30 beds) were acquired at 132 Hill Street. In the same year Beatson published his landmark paper in The Lancet, a report of three patients with breast cancer whom he had treated by bilateral oophorectomy. This work forms the basis of the current anti-hormonal treatment of breast cancer and the operation is still performed today. In 1912, HRH Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, opened the rebuilt facilities which were named the Royal Glasgow Cancer Hospital. In the same year a research department was founded and the first director of research (Dr. Charles Walker) was appointed, making the institute one of the oldest "Comprehensive Cancer Centers" in the world.

With the inception of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948, the hospital came under control of the Western Board of Management, and was renamed the Royal Beatson Memorial Hospital in 1953. In 1967, the Research Laboratories were renamed the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, which continued to occupy the upper floors of the hospital until 1977, when they moved to a new site at Garscube Estate (Cancer Research UK Beatson Laboratories). The clinical section moved to a new centre within the Western Infirmary and was named the Beatson Oncology Centre.

In 2007, the Beatson Oncology Centre, which was by that time spread over 4 hospitals (Western Infirmary, Gartnavel General Hospital, Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Stobhill Hospital) moved to a newly built Cancer Hospital, The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre (BWSCC; pictures).


The BWSCC is the lead centre for delivery of non-surgical cancer care for the West of Scotland, serving a population of 2.8 m and has clinical links with 16 hospitals in five health boards. The current medical director of the BWSCC is Prof. Alan Rodger. The internationally renowed Beatson Institute for Cancer Research is led by Prof. Karen Vousden, FRS, FRSE and has strong links with the clinical facilities. An internationally-renowned teaching centre, the BWSCC incorporates the academic units of Medical Oncology (Prof. Jim Cassidy, Prof. Jeff Evans), Radiation Oncology (chair - vacant), Neuro-Oncology (Prof. Roy Rampling), Haematology (Prof. Tessa Holyoake, FRSE) and Palliative Care (Prof. John Welsh) of the University of Glasgow, the fourth oldest university in the English speaking world (founded 1451). The BWSCC is Scotland's largest cancer centre, and the second largest in the UK. The centre, each year, sees more than 8,000 new patients, delivers more than 15,000 courses of chemotherapy and administers over 6,500 courses of radiotherapy. Its equipment is amongst the best in Europe with 11 linear accelerators and a PET-CT. The centre has an international reputation in the field of cancer research and is equipped with a state-of-the-art clinical research unit (CRU), a clinical trials unit (CTU) and an analytical services unit (ASU). The centre is a top recruiter in many clinical trials and contributes in many cancer research networks and cooperative oncology groups such as the NCRI (as a co-ordinating centre; CACTUS), SCRN (Scottish Cancer Research Network), NTRAC (National Translational Cancer Research), EORTC and ACCOG (Anglo Celtic Oncology Group).

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