Forrest General Cancer Center Adds Third Linear Accelerator
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – (August 28, 2020) Forrest General Cancer Center announces the addition of a Varian Edge Linear Accelerator® in its battle to fight cancer. The new piece of equipment has the capability to treat all types of cancers with conventional radiation and using high dose pinpoint radiation, otherwise known as stereotactic radiation.
The center is home to two additional linear accelerators, which have been used to treat upwards of 80 to 85 patients a day. “With those two machines, we’ve treated about 700-plus patients in a year, which amounts to about 17,000 treatments,” said Sophy Mangana, MD, radiation oncologist. “With the addition of this linear accelerator, we can add an additional 30 to 40 patients a day to what we are already treating.”
Delivering stereotactic radiation for patients in fewer treatments, as few as 1 to 5 compared to 20 to 40 of conventional radiation therapy, means the patient spends less time at the cancer center and in the doctor’s office. “That means they get to spend more time with their loved ones doing the things they enjoy, so it adds quality to their lives,” Mangana said.
With the older accelerators, what once took 10 to 30 minutes can be completed in less than 2 minutes, allowing for a more comfortable experience for the patient with less time on the treatment couch and faster delivery which allows for reduced chances of tumor motion during treatment. That also helps protect nearby healthy tissue and critical organs.
The radiotherapy technology delivers a 3D dose, which is distributed to the entire tumor.
The accelerator can treat different types of cancers such as breast, prostate, lung, liver, pancreas, head, and neck using the stereotactic technique. According to Mangana, for the right patient, this can be an alternative to surgery, “which means the patient doesn’t have to have a day-long procedure or spend multiple days in the hospital.”
“They come in to have their treatment for their cancer in 1 to 5 sessions, and they have fewer side effects,” Mangana said. “We also have excellent local control of the disease with stereotactic treatment.”
The beam-producing system is installed in a vault in the healthcare setting to provide shielding from radiation, while the control panel that uses the device software is placed outside the treatment room.
The Edge imaging technology can produce the three-dimensional images used to fine-tune tumor targeting in 60 percent less time than previous Varian imaging technology. Additional functionality makes it possible to create images using 25 percent less X-ray dose. These images are used to fine-tune a patient’s position prior to and during the treatment process.
In addition to its impressive technical specifications, the Edge has also been designed with patient comfort in mind. It operates quietly and provides built-in music capabilities, so the patient can listen to music during treatment. The patient is in constant two-way communication with the therapist who operates the system. Plus, the therapist will be able to visually monitor and see the patient through two closed-circuit television systems.
An effective treatment for cancer, radiotherapy has been used safely for many years. In fact, according to the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), nearly two out of every three cancer patients receive some type of radiotherapy during their treatment. In basic terms, radiotherapy works by limiting the ability of cancer cells to grow and spread. Radiation disrupts the DNA of these fast-growing cancer cells and prevents them from replicating.
“We are always looking for new opportunities to do what is best for our patients – whether it is offering new services or bringing in the advanced technologies that improve patient care and outcomes,” said Joe Marcello, Oncology Service Line Administrator.
About Forrest General’s Cancer Center
Forrest General Hospital Cancer Center is among the largest and most sophisticated cancer treatment centers in South Mississippi. It offers a place where patients can received advanced care in a beautiful, compassionate environment. Forrest General operates the only comprehensive community Cancer Center in the 19-county service area and is accredited by the College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. The center features the services of a multidisciplinary team led by medical oncologists/hematologists and radiation oncologists, who provide high quality medical care in a continuum of settings. In addition to medical and radiation oncologists, a complete range of physician specialists provide expertise in diagnoses, surgical removal, disease management and reconstructive procedures
For more information about the Forrest General Cancer Center, visit forrestgeneral.com.