NO PAIN, NO GAIN?

By Healthovation Team

Cover Story

March 19, 2020

Whoever came up with this popular motto probably never foresaw that innovative medical technology would one day come up with a highly intelligent, intuitive and versatile solution that helps treat cancer and puts an end to the agonizing pain that torment patients during radiation therapy. With the grand arrival of the TrueBeam STx, cancer patients stand to gain a lot through its pain-free, non-invasive treatment option that accurately targets only the tumour without damaging the nearby healthy tissues.

A couple of years ago, we often heard about people succumbing to cancer. But today, we read about people who survive cancer. Ever since the dreaded ailment made its first appearance millions of years ago, cancer has come a long way from being a malady we all die from, to a common condition we bravely fight and emerge a winner. Of course, in recent decades there has been a surge in the prevalence of cancer. However, the emotion that the word “cancer” invokes in our mind is now no longer a bitter mood of hopelessness but a moment of hope, victory and pride.

Cancer has changed lives. But innovation in medical technology has changed the way people with cancer fight for their lives. Though we have not been able to eradicate cancer or discover a complete cure, medical technology is helping healthcare professionals detect, eliminate and treat tumours the size of a berry. One such ground-breaking innovation that has taken cancer treatment to an entirely new level is the highly intelligent, intuitive and versatile technology called the Varian TrueBeam™ STx technology.

Hallmarks of the TrueBeam STx system:

  • Delivers treatment up to 75 percent faster than other advanced radiation systems
  • Intelligent automation provides up to a five-fold reduction in the steps needed for imaging, positioning and treating patients
  • A standard intensity-modulated treatment generally takes 10 minutes whereas the TrueBeam takes less than two minutes
  • Complex Radiosurgery typically takes 40 minutes to an hour but the TrueBeam gets it done in 5-20 minutes
  • RapidArc® technology in TrueBeam lowers the treatment to as short as a minute
  • The system does accuracy checks in every 10 milliseconds throughout an entire treatment process
  • The accuracy of a TrueBeam system is measured in increments of less than a millimeter
  • More than 100,000 data points are monitored throughout the treatment process to ensure safe outcomes

True Innovation in Cancer Care

In every sense of the word, the TrueBeam STx is a great innovation in cancer care and a significant breakthrough in radiation therapy technology. Technically speaking, it is an advanced linear accelerator and radiosurgery treatment system that allows doctors to target tumours that are hard to reach and hence go undetected. Linear accelerator radiation therapy (LINAC) is a form of external-beam radiation therapy that makes use of electricity to deliver high energy radiation that aids in the treatment of cancer. The greatest advantage of LINAC is its ability to customize the beam to conform to the shape of the tumour and destroy cancerous tissue without damaging the surrounding healthy ones. For those who prefer a pain-free and safe treatment option, the linear accelerator is the smartest and most effective choice a cancer patient could take.

Rapid Arc Technology: The TrueBeam STx is designed with the ability to perform a wide range of radiation therapy techniques that allow oncologists to choose the best form of treatment for each patient and deliver that treatment in a precise, quick manner. The Rapid Arc technology incorporated in TrueBeam STx helps to rotate the device around the patient to quickly deliver radiation from any angle. The major advantage here is that it helps treat tumours that were previously difficult to treat because of their location near vital organs as well as the tumour’s natural tendency to move within the body.

Imaging Technology, ExacTrac®: In fact, this new technology has a fully integrated system for image-guided radiotherapy and radiosurgery that addresses a diverse range of cancers. This means that the TrueBeam STx makes use of the cutting-edge imaging technology called ExacTrac®, to capture images of the tumour, even when it moves during a patient’s natural breathing patterns. This sophisticated 3D imaging system captures CT scans and fluoroscopy or movie-like x-ray images to target and treat tumours of all shapes, sizes and locations with pinpoint accuracy.

Sub millimeter Precision: The TrueBeam STx comes with sub millimeter precision and accuracy to enable the treatment of tumours smaller than a berry or as large as encompassing the entire body. It is extremely fast and treats targeted tumours with high speed. This precision is made possible by the system’s sophisticated architecture that synchronizes imaging, patient positioning, motion management, beam shaping and dose delivery. As a result, doctors are in a better position to target some of the more complex cancers in areas such as the lungs, abdomen and liver areas where tumours move with each breath. The radiation dose can also be precisely sculpted to deliver selective radiation only to the targeted tumour, thereby minimizing radiation exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue. The built-in safety feature in the linear accelerator radiation therapy ensures that the dose delivered does not exceed the dose prescribed. The entire treatment process is constantly monitored by a certified and experienced medical physicist.

A couple of years ago, we often heard about people succumbing to cancer. But today, we read about people who survive cancer. Ever since the dreaded ailment made its first appearance millions of years ago, cancer has come a long way from being a malady we all die from, to a common condition we bravely fight and emerge a winner.

Ensuring Patient Comfort with TrueBeam STx at Aster MIMS, Calicut

In an effort to bring about a revolutionary change in cancer treatment for the residents in Calicut region, the TrueBeam STx facility has been set up at Aster MIMS, Calicut. The medical physicists at Aster MIMS, Ms. Aswathi Raj and Ms. Hridya Prasanth, played an integral role in commissioning this high-end radiotherapy equipment and making this widely used cancer treatment modality available right here at Calicut. “At Aster MIMS, we value

patient comfort above all else”, said Ms. Aswathi, Chief Medical Physicist and RSO. It was the cherished dream of the Radiation Oncology team at Aster MIMS to provide patients in the Malabar region with the most advanced and modern treatment that shortened patients’ treatment time from hours to minutes.

The TrueBeam STx is designed to give prime focus on a patient’s comfort and convenience. This is exactly why Aster MIMS and the Radiation Oncology team decided to choose this radically unique approach to treating cancer in a pain-free, surgery-free manner.

Cancer has changed lives. But innovation in medical technology has changed the way people with cancer fight for their lives. One such ground-breaking innovation that has taken cancer treatment to an entirely new level is the highly intelligent, intuitive and versatile technology called the Varian TrueBeam™ STx technology.

Personalized Cancer Care

The TrueBeam STx takes cancer care to the highest level of excellence by providing doctors the opportunity to personalize the radiotherapy treatments for each patient. Cancer itself comes with its share of intermittent pain at the unlikeliest moments and not many treatments take an extra step to ensure comfort during a radiotherapy session. But the TrueBeam STx is a world apart. It incorporates a specially designed couch with 6 degrees of freedom that enables the patient to be more comfortably positioned during the treatment.

At the same time, there are 3 closed-circuit television systems (CCTV) with 2-way audio that allows a comprehensive monitoring of the patient as well as constant patient-doctor interaction during the treatment.

This communication technology that allows doctors to see, hear and talk to their patient helps a great deal in alleviating unnecessary fear. Music too can be played to help the patient relax and put him / her at ease.

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21 January 2020

Awesome post! Keep up the great work! :)