Tweed cancer patients to get radiation close to home

Radiation therapists Peter Neville and Emma Knakes with the new IMRT machine Photo Albert Elzinga / Daily News
Radiation therapists Peter Neville and Emma Knakes with the new IMRT machine Photo Albert Elzinga / Daily News Albert Elzinga

TWEED cancer patients will no longer have to traipse to Lismore or Southport to receive an advanced radiation therapy following the opening of a new Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) facility at John Flynn Hospital.

Private radiation oncology group Premion started treating patients in August but the treatment centre won't be officially opened until Thursday when staff at the Tugun facility will reveal the massive IMRT machine to the public.

Premion physicist Nigel Middelbrook said some of the main advantages of the new therapy were the accuracy of the IMRT machine and the minimal side effects involved.

"The machine is able to check the 3-dimensional aim of its radiation dose before the treatment starts and can customise the radiation according to the shape of the tumour," Mr Middlebrook said.

"It is capable of delivering radiation with millimetre accuracy," Mr Middlebrook said.

The proximity of the centre to the Tweed was another major benefit, especially as patients needed to have about 10 minutes of treatment every day.

Premion radiation oncologist Dr David Christie said "due to IMRT precisely targeting the tumour, the ability to increase the radiation dose is enhanced thereby leading to increased effectiveness of the treatment".

"The big advantages of IMRT are that we are able to tailor treatment to the tumour more precisely and also minimise the radiation dose to the healthy surrounding tissue," Dr Christie said.

IMRT is currently used for treatment of cancers such as prostate, head and neck, pelvic and abdominal tumours.

Patient Richard Kelly said "when Dr Christie discussed treating me using IMRT for my prostate cancer, I was keen to proceed with this type of treatment".

"I feel fine and my treatment has proceeded smoothly," Mr Kelly said.

For more information contact Premion at John Flynn Private Hospital on (07) 5598 0366.

Topics:  cancer radiation treatment

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