Radiation treatment for cancer patients has changed dramatically over the years. It's now more focused on the tumor, it can deliver more concentrated doses and causes a lot less damage than in years past. Dr. Robert Cardinale, Director of Radiation Oncology at St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne, says new equipment is one reason for the improvements.
The True Beam Linear Accelerator is a revolutionary machine for delivering radiation to tumors. Dr. Cardinale says it uses advanced imaging to angle the radiation beam to target the tumor without hitting critical organs such as the heart or lungs. This pinpoint targeting method allows doctors to deliver higher doses of radiation at a treatment, it's now safer with less side effects and with fewer problems once treatment has ended. He says it can also help doctors avoid performing some surgeries, because now the radiation treatment is more effective.
Dr. Cardinale is quick to point out that such state of the art equipment requires a top notch team to effectively use the tool to save lives. He says doctors, technicians, radiation therapists, engineers and physicists must all be extensively trained to use the machine correctly and keep it working properly.