News

Next generation state-of-the-art radiation therapy system at Netcare N1 City Hospital

Patients to benefit from advanced power and precision in cancer treatment

Tuesday, February 6 2018

With even greater precision in delivering high doses of radiotherapy for the treatment of a wide range of cancers and benign diseases in various parts of the body, patients are experiencing the benefits of the advanced Varian Trilogy linear accelerator, which was recently installed at Netcare N1 City Hospital’s oncology and interventional centre.

“The dedicated oncology centre at Netcare N1 City Hospital has been providing radiotherapy to patients in the Western Cape since 2009, and has been keeping abreast of the significant advances in radiation technology that are helping to improve patient outcomes,” says Noeleen Phillipson, Netcare’s executive responsible for oncology.

Pic: The dedicated oncology centre at Netcare N1 City Hospital is now equipped with the state-of-the-art Varian Trilogy linear accelerator, which offers enhanced precision in delivering high doses of radiotherapy for the treatment of a wide range of cancers and benign diseases.

“Every cancer story is unique. Netcare is committed to creating patient-focused care facilities that navigate patients through this challenging and personal time.

“We recognise that everyone will have their own fears and coping mechanisms. With this in mind, our entire approach is to support and guide each individual patient.

“The centre specialises, among other things, in stereotactic irradiation and has a proud history in the field of radiotherapy. This new treatment system expands the therapeutic radiation treatment options available at the hospital, as it can rotate 360 degrees around the patient to deliver high precision treatments in various applications. We are pleased that we can now also offer the advantages of this system to patients in the Western Cape.”

Dr Anton van Wyk, general manager at Netcare N1 City Hospital, says the oncology and interventional centre has a holistic approach to cancer treatment. “The multidisciplinary medical team includes radiologists, oncologists, medical physicists, radiation therapists and surgeons, who work closely together to develop and review individual treatment plans that are tailored to the unique needs of each patient. Treatment may involve radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, or a combination of these.”

“Healthcare professionals offer support to patients during treatment on aspects such as nutrition and exercise to help them maintain the best possible quality of life during treatment, and patients also have access to the Look Good Feel Better programme in addition to being cared for by our experienced radiation therapy staff,” adds Marilyn Lameyer, manager at the oncology and interventional centre.

Radiation oncologist, Dr John Sauer, says the non-invasive Varian Trilogy linear accelerator is equipped with infrared cameras that continuously monitor the patient’s position. This is in addition to the ExacTrac X-ray positioning system that provides the highest treatment accuracy available on the market and makes use of a specialised robotic bed, which has the capability to make micro adjustments in six dimensions.

“A feature of this technology is that the radiation therapists are able to monitor the positioning in real time, so that the therapeutic radiation dose can be delivered with sub-millimeter mechanical accuracy,” he explains.

Dr Sauer adds that the Varian Trilogy system is highly versatile as it is equipped for stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), whereby radiation is delivered from various angles to focus a high dose on the targeted lesion. This can be achieved through either using conventional treatment techniques, intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) techniques or by way of Varian’s patented RapidArc technique.

“This is a particularly important treatment option in cases where tumours are not surgically accessible, or are close to nerves or other healthy tissue that could potentially be compromised in traditional surgical interventions. It is non-invasive and the objective is to increase the dose to the target lesion while limiting dose to nearby structures and normal tissue,” he adds.

“The exactness with which we are able to direct the dose of radiation means that there is minimal exposure of these healthy surrounding nerves and tissue, which is particularly important for preservation of critical structures when treating cancers of the head, brain, neck, lungs and prostate, for example.”

“Another benefit of the system is that treatment times tend to be much shorter, which is more convenient for our patients,” notes Dr Sauer.

Phillipson points out that, statistically, one in four South Africans’ lives will be impacted by cancer, either directly or indirectly. “With early detection, on-going advances in medical technology and a holistic, collaborative approach to treating cancer, there is more hope than ever for improving patient outcomes and saving lives,” she says.

“The range of world-class cancer treatments and wealth of expertise at the oncology and interventional centre at Netcare N1 City Hospital are certainly formidable allies against this disease and the Varian Trilogy linear accelerator is a welcome addition to the Netcare Western Cape oncology landscape,” she concludes.  

Ends

Issued by:    MNA on behalf of Netcare N1 City Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney and Meggan Saville
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:        martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za or meggan@mnapr.co.za