21st Century Oncology gets a one of a kind radiation machine

Published: Aug. 27, 2020 at 3:56 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - The Varian’s Edge Radiosurgery machine is a modern cancer treatment technology. The machine focuses on being minimally invasive in numerous ways.

“We are able to treat things that are very very small and are very close to very important things that we don’t want to treat and this machine has a very enhanced technology to do that. the other thing this machine does is it limits the amount of time that we are treating on a patient so the patient used to have anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes for a treatment this machine will cut it in half,” said Dr. Hejal Patel - Radiation Oncologist.

With higher doses the machine has cut not only the time patients are in treatment but it has cut down on the number of days of treatments.

“Those patients can get one treatment to a high dose or our lung patients typically five treatments to a high dose because it is so accurate we can do that high dose with confidence and they are able to be done with their treatments in one to five fractions instead of 30 to 40 fractions,” said Noel Christian - Radiation Oncology Physicist.

The precision of the machine ensures that only the tumor is treated, while sparing the healthy surrounding tissue.

“If you are treating a patient with a left breast cancer the heart is very close to the breast on the left side so if you can get the patient to take a deep breath it puts lung tissue between the heart and the breast and with this technology were able to have the patient take a deep breath it lifts the breast away from the heart we deliver the radiation if they exhale and that lung volume decreases then the beam shuts off,” said Christian.

This is done by a real-time tracking system that monitors the movement of the tumor. The radiation pauses till the patient is done moving to resume treatment.

Another plus to the new machine is the design.

“The new vault and the new design of these machines is very patient accommodated it is a very open area the patients have a very good feeling when they leave here it is not a sense of closed in a lot of folks have that feel that the machine is going to be closed in and they get claustrophobic but for the most part these vaults and the way we are doing things today are much more open so patients don’t have to fear that at all,” said Patel.

The closest machine of this kind is in Birmingham.

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