News | July 11, 2007

IGRT System Combines Imaging, Treatment

July 12, 2007 - Clinicians at Providence Holy Cross Cancer Center are currently using an advanced form of image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), that combines imaging and treatment techniques in a single machine, from Varian Medical Systems to treat patients with breast, prostate, head and neck, lung and gynecological cancers.

The combined technique, reportedly provides fast and accurate radiotherapy that maximizes the dose to the tumor and reduces the side effects of treatment.

"This new approach to treating cancer makes it possible for us to fine-tune our targeting so that we can do a better job of protecting the surrounding tissues during treatment," said Nancy Ellerbroek, MD, medical director for radiation oncology at the Center.

According to Ellerbroek, having the ability to generate images on a daily basis is reassuring when she is delivering high doses of radiation to tumors close to critical structures in the body. "It allows me to deliver the powerful doses we know are better at eradicating tumors without cutting corners because we're afraid of getting too close to something crucial," she said. "That means we can target tumors we would have considered untreatable just a year ago. I expect our tumor control rates will improve and our complication rates will be lower, when we've had a chance to study IGRT outcomes over a longer period of time. So far, our experience bears this out."

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