Cancer is a debilitating disease that not only affects the patient but also the caregivers. It is psychologically and physically taxing for both the patient and his or her caretaker.
Often treatments for the disease are not quick enough to provide immediate relief. But cancer patients at Louisiana can ward off this hurdle. The southeastern state in the US has thought of ways to make cancer treatment much more precise and quick, thanks to a piece of equipment worth millions of dollars.
According to Dr Lawrence Menache at the Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital in Alexandria, a new linear accelerator (LINAC) will soon be available to check patients. The LINAC is due to be launched by the end of this year, in September.
“The machine will allow us to further pinpoint radiation for the patient, which will be more accurate and quicker,” radiation oncologist DrMenache said.In an information on the RadiologyInfo.org the device that will be installed at the hospital use unique high-energy X-rays that will destroy cells of cancer in the patient by conforming to the shape of their tumor. Also known as electrons, these X-rays are safe for other normal tissues that will surround the tumor as it will only work towards destroying the cancer cells.
According to DrMenache, this new piece of equipment is an upgrade from the models that are currently in place. “It is very unique in our area,” he said.
In fact, the device easily maneuvers over the human body in six dimensions for treatment. The patient is asked to lie flat on a movable table, which is cushioned for comfort. Dr Menache points out those other similar machines that are currently being used moves only three times for treatment, resultantly giving LINAC an edge over others – making it quicker and more accurate.
He further goes on to mention that this specific equipment will allow doctors to take better aim at a tumor. “It gives us a lot of advantages,” he said.
In order to take a better aim, a beam is directed at the patient which comes out of a gantry, which a part of the accelerator. This particular beam can then be rotated as per required. It is rotated around the patient lying on the moveable table and cab ne delivered to the tumor from any angle. All this aptness is said to cut the treatment time to half of what is currently being taken.
According to Dr Menache a regular treatment possibly take around 20 minutes, so if cut by half by the new equipment, it will only take 10 minutes. “Shorter treatment allows for more precision,” he adds.
And that’s not it. Such a short time span and preciseness also adds to not only patient’s satisfaction but also his or her quality of life. All this might make one assume that the treatment will be expensive considering the quality it delivers. But that’s not true. DrMenachehas confirmed that this treatment too is covered by insurance just like any other cancer treatments.
In numbers though, the entire project costs up to an exuberant $5 million, which according to Dr Menache is an average for such a new technology. However, it will be fully funded by the Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital in Alexandria.