Ensuring that Southern Indiana Cancer Patients Have Access to the Best Treatments Available

July 9, 2012

If you drive down Green Valley Road in New Albany and happen upon the Floyd Memorial Cancer Center of Indiana, you’ll see a building with a cutting-edge design, teeming with the excitement of curing cancer. What you won’t see is the excitement that’s going on underground at this very moment. That’s because we’re working hard to install a cutting-edge cancer fighting linear accelerator.

Bringing more ‘firsts’ to Southern Indiana

The Varian Linear Accelerator that is currently being installed at the Cancer Center of Indiana, set to treat its first patient in August 2012, is the most advanced of its kind to come to the Cancer Center of Indiana. Board certified radiation oncologist B.O. Jose, MD, FACR, explained its significance. “This linear accelerator will allow us to treat patients with the most cutting-edge technology available right here
in Southern Indiana.”

Dr. Jose continued, “The Varian Linear Accelerator brings with it several new technologies including Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) and Image Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT) that have proven to be highly successful in treating specific types of cancer. These come together to provide patients with a more precise, efficient and tolerable radiation therapy treatment plan.”

B. O. Jose, MD, FACR“Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) represents what can happen when a wide range of experts, from physicists to engineers to physicians, come together to create something truly life-changing for patients. It’s an amazing technology that I’m extremely proud of. We have a lot of tools in our cancer arsenal, but if patients can’t tolerate the treatments we have available, we can’t cure them. SBRT is groundbreaking because it’s effective, efficient and highly tolerable.”

B. O. Jose, MD, FACR | Board Certified Radiation Oncologist
Floyd Memorial Cancer Center of Indiana

Stereotactic body radiotherapy

SBRT is a radiation therapy procedure for treating cancers of the lung, brain, liver, pancreas, spinal cord and prostate with high doses of radiation delivered to a precise target. It is especially useful in cancers located in inoperable areas of the body, where surgical removal of the tumor is not possible. By using special positioning technology and implanted markers in the body, it is able to deliver a much higher dose of radiation to a cancer than traditional radiation therapy, while sparing healthy tissue and shortening treatment time.

Dr. Jose explained what this ultimately means for patients. “SBRT is a remarkable treatment option because it is so high-powered and precise that it drastically reduces treatment frequency and side effects, making it more accessible and easier on patients. For example, on SBRT, lung cancer treatments can be completed in as little as four sessions, compared to approximately 30 with the traditional technology. Similarly, prostate cancer treatment can be reduced to five instead of 40 sessions. That’s the difference between going for treatment every day for nine weeks or every day for one week. It’s truly amazing.”

Syed Ahmed, DPMThe stereotactic body radiotherapy and image guided radiotherapy offered by the Varian Linear Accelerator provides the most precise, high-powered radiation treatment available, resulting in less damage to healthy tissues and shorter treatment timeframes.

Image guided radiotherapy

IGRT is an additional functionality of the linear accelerator that assists in the administration of SBRT treatments by performing cone beam computed tomography (CT) on the accelerator table to match the patient’s anatomy exactly before and during each treatment. With precision to the millimeter, IGRT ensures that the high-powered beam of radiation delivered during SBRT is shaped to the exact dimensions of the cancerous area, sparing surrounding healthy tissues. By measuring every movement of the body and making constant adjustments, IGRT ensures that the cancer is targeted in the most precise, effective manner possible.

Call 812-945-4000 or visit www.floydmemorial.com/cancer-center-of-indiana/ for more information on services and treatments offered at the Floyd Memorial Cancer Center of Indiana.

What Types of Cancer Respond to SBRT?

SBRT, or Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy, is a very high dose of radiation that is delivered to a precise target over a short timeframe, allowing for a more tolerable treatment experience. Cancers that respond well to SBRT include:

  • Brain
  • Liver
  • Lung
  • Pancreas
  • Prostate
  • Spinal cord
Syed Ahmed, DPMSBRT by the Numbers
See below for a sampling of reduced treatment timeframes on SBRT compared to traditional radiation therapy treatments:

Prostate Cancer
Lung Cancer
Spine Cancer
SBRT
5 treatments
4 treatments
1 to 4 treatments
Traditional Therapy
40 treatments
30 treatments
10 treatments