Radiation therapy receives state-of-the-art upgrade

A fourth linear accelerator offers the latest in cutting edge radiation therapy treatment
January 29, 2019

The newest linear accelerator for the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario enhances the clinics treatment options.

The Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario (CCSEO) recently powered up its newest investment in breaking health care technology – a fifth linear accelerator for the Radiation Oncology program. This state-of –the-art machine builds upon the treatment technology already in place to provide further customized care to patients with complex cancers.

Known as the TrueBeam, this linear accelerator treats cancer anywhere in the body where radiation treatment is needed, including lung, breast, prostate and head and neck. The technology offered in this latest linear accelerator enables staff to treat patients quickly while delivering highly precise dose rates.

“The patient won’t notice a difference in the care that they receive but for staff it will help us move patients around on the table in an easier way and allow us to ensure we’re using all of the linear accelerators as efficiently as possible,” says Kit Tam, Manager of Radiation Therapy. “We’ve always had a good setup with the machines we have but now we can make it even better.”

Up until now, CCSEO had four linear accelerators in place. The first TrueBeam had been acquired in 2014 and offered technology that wasn’t previously available. However, as it was the only linear accelerator with certain technological features, it wasn’t able to be fully utilized as the other machines weren’t able to act as back-ups should it malfunction or run into issues.

The Cancer Centre than acquired a second TrueBeam in 2017 which enabled some of the common new technology features on the two units to be used. But this second model had some additional features not on the first. With the third TrueBeam now in place these new features can be commissioned and brought on board, enhancing the clinics treatment options.

“These machines help us to better treat small targets and enhance guided radiotherapy, so now we can look at additional approaches to deliver the therapy”, says Dr. John Schreiner, Chief of Medical Physics. “Another advantage now too is that the imaging on the unit is much more detailed which is incredibly beneficial in ensuring the patient is positioned exactly as required during treatment.”

The Radiation Therapy department can treat over 120 patients a day from all over Southeastern Ontario, including patients from Prescott, Bancroft and Brighton areas. Cancer Care Ontario’s investment in this technology for the CCSEO ensures that these patients and their families are provided with the highest quality care and best possible experience.

“We’ve pushed our thinking quite a bit with how we can fully utilize radiation therapy, years ago we were only dreaming of some of the things we’re doing for treatment now,” says Dr. Schreiner. “Now with this latest machine we can dream even further.”

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