THOUSANDS of cancer sufferers have been given a new hope through pioneering treatment at Oxford’s Churchill Hospital that ‘cooks’ cancer cells, according to a top doctor.

Consultant radiologist Mark Anderson spoke out after the successful treatment of 87-year-old grandfather Ken Cook in which the tumour was heated from the inside with microwaves, killing any cancerous trissue.

Dubbed micro-ablation, it has already been used to cure more than 60 people of their cancer at the Headington hospital.

Dr Anderson said: “In the treatment of lung cancer this represents a big step forward.

“In terms of the UK there is the possibility of treating people in their thousands.

“It will help people who have previously been told surgery isn’t for them, because they are unfit or elderly and wouldn’t survive conventional surgery.

“The procedure itself is relatively straight forward and we would hope it would be something people would be enthusiastic about adopting.”

Mr Cook had been told he could not have surgery because he suffered a heart attack shortly after he was diagnosed with lung cancer, and would not be strong enough for the procedure.

The Watlington grandfather-of-four said: “I thought that was it. There was no chance.”

But in August doctors inserted a needle-like probe into Mr Cook’s lung through a puncture in his skin.

They then activated the device, discharging a blast of microwave energy that destroyed the cancerous tissues and effectively cooked them in the same way the microwave in a kitchen would.

In all the procedure took under an hour.

Mr Cook said: “It was a scary time, wanting them to do the procedure and wanting it to work.

“But I went into hospital at 7.30am, they did the procedure at about 8am, then I woke up in a ward and came home the following day.

“It was wonderful.”

Mr Cook, a stalwart Royal British Legion member, said he was now enjoying living life to the full again.

He joked: “I’m 87 but I feel as fit as I did when I was 21.

“Honestly, I feel as fit as a fiddle, I’ve had no problems at all.

“This procedure saved my life.”

His wife Greta, 78, said: “It is just wonderful to have him back to his old self. It has given him a new lease of life. I cannot thank the hospital enough.”

Having first been used in Oxford, the microwave tissue ablation system is now also being used at hospitals in London, Southampton and Basingstoke. It has successfully dealt with liver, lung, kidney and bone tumours.

About 250 Oxfordshire people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year.