Queen of the Valley Medical Center announced today it installed a new Canon Medical Aquilion Large Bore computed tomography (CT) simulator specifically designed to increase comfort and enhance quality of care for patients in need of radiation treatments.
“We are proud to offer the latest technology to our patients,” said Larry Coomes, Chief Executive. “Our mission is to ease the way for our patients and our hope is that this new technology makes a difference in the lives of our patients who need to undergo radiation as part of their cancer treatment.”
The simulator is a specialized CT scanner that allows radiation therapists to place oncology patients in the optimal treatment position. It takes pictures in slices of bones, tissue and blood vessels which are then used to “map” the area of the body that needs treatment. This process is called “simulation” because the treatment is not actually being administered.
The simulator’s 4D acquisition mode allows the series of images to coincide with the respiratory cycle which helps care providers visualize internal movement of the tumor and organs. When coupled with the treatment planning system software, the physicians can plan their treatment fields virtually.
“Tumors move with the patient’s breath,” said James Knister, MD, radiation oncologist at Queen of the Valley. “This new feature provides us with an additional way to capture the location and movement of the tumor and the movement of organs over time. This is especially valuable for tumors located on or near organs that move, such as those in the chest.”
In the past, oncologists accounted for the tumors movement by creating slightly wider margins or guiding the patient through breathing techniques during the scan. This new feature provides the care team with an additional way to narrowly target the tumor with radiation and avoid healthy tissue.
In addition, the new CT simulator features a 90cm bore (or opening)—20cm wider than the model it is replacing. This wider bore increases access and comfort for patients, especially those who are claustrophobic or need more room, and matches the size of the linear accelerator which administers treatment. The table itself can also be lowered closer to the floor, easing the way for elderly patients and those with physical limitations. For clinicians, the wider diameter makes it easier to optimally position the patient for treatment.
“It gives us additional options for positioning patients for the simulation. For example, patients who need radiation treatment for breast cancer have room to place their arms over their head, or patients who need radiation for gynecological cancers can easily lay in a frog legged position,” said Dr. Knister.
The new CT simulator is just one way Queen of the Valley is enhancing cancer care locally. This hospital is in the process of installing a second linear accelerator that will use the 4D images produced by the new CT simulator to perform stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) for cancer patients who would benefit from this type of treatment. SBRT is a radiation treatment that allows care providers to treat a small area in the body with radiation in less time and less appointments. For more information about Queen of the Valley’s cancer services, visit TheQueen.org/cancer.
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