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Radiotherapy cancer treatment one step closer for BoP

Radiotherapy cancer treatment one step closer for Bay of Plenty patients

Radiotherapy cancer treatment will come one step closer for Bay of Plenty patients when the new Kathleen Kilgour Cancer Centre (KKC) receives two state-of-the-art linear accelerators on Saturday 31 May.

The KKC’s Chief Medical Physicist, Dr Albert Zacarias said it will take four months to install and commission the equipment.

Dr Zacarias explained that radiotherapy is one of three methods used to treat cancer patients. The other two methods, sometimes used in conjunction with radiotherapy, are surgery and chemotherapy. Radiotherapy uses the effects of high energy radiation, which is much higher than visible or ultraviolet radiation, to destroy cancer directly and non-invasively, that is without surgery.

“The Versa HD Linear accelerators from Elekta to be installed at the KKC will provide conventional 3D conformal radiation therapy and Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT, including Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy or VMAT). These procedures can be provided in conjunction with the advanced Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT),” he said.

“Patients being treated at the KKC will receive faster, more accurate radiotherapy treatments due to the state-of-the-art technology of the equipment arriving at the KKC.”

“The linear accelerators will allow medical staff to accurately deliver the radiation onto the tumour rather than on the surrounding healthy tissues, thereby helping to reduce some of the potential side effects of radiation, and substantially reducing treatment time on the machine. Dr Zacarias said that collectively these advancements in radiotherapy are good for the patient because tumours have less time to move due to natural internal organ motion
and the quick delivery is also a comfort factor for the patient.”

The linear accelerators will also be capable of providing advanced treatment procedures including Stereotactic Cranial radiotherapy (SRT) and Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT).

“Over the next four months, the linear accelerators will be assembled, undergo an acceptance test to verify they meet the KKC’s specifications and be commissioned for clinical service. In addition, the linear accelerators will require calibration as will the other quality assurance equipment used to provide safe and effective treatment for cancer patients,” Dr Zacarias said.

The KKC will treat public and private patients requiring radiation treatment beginning October 1, 2014.


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