Island’s cancer-fighting technology boosted by innovative equipment

New radiation therapy machines part of a provincewide replacement plan

B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake talks about the gains made by the B.C. Cancer Agency thanks to new equipment. Patients from around the Capital Region will benefit from the improvement.

Cancer patients at the B.C. Cancer Agency’s Vancouver Island Centre at Royal Jubilee Hospital now have access to six new linear accelerators that provide radiation therapy used to treat a variety of cancers.

“The six new TrueBeam linear accelerators help place the B.C. Cancer Agency at the forefront of providing cutting-edge cancer treatment using the newest and most innovative radiation therapy equipment,” said Health Minister Terry Lake.

“This technology is a perfect example of the world-class cancer care B.C. residents have access to and it will help improve the quality of life for Island patients affected by cancer.”

The new linear accelerators are part of a replacement plan that will improve patient care by providing some of the most advanced, targeted radiation therapy treatments in B.C.

The plan also includes a new radiation therapy simulator and a brachytherapy suite upgrade – a form of radiotherapy where a radiation source is placed inside or next to the area requiring treatment.

The B.C. government provided $24.3 million in funding for the project.

“We appreciate the provincial government providing funding for new linear accelerators, a radiation therapy simulator and a brachytherapy suite upgrade at the Vancouver Island Centre,” said Nick Foster, interim head, B.C. Cancer Agency.

“To provide the best care, it is important that the B.C. Cancer Agency keep current with new technology and treatment advances. This new equipment will help to improve health outcomes for our patients by allowing us to deliver more precise radiation treatment to patients at the Vancouver Island Centre.”

Linear accelerators work by making use of high-energy x-rays to kill tumour cells. Radiation therapy is used to treat a variety of cancer types, as well as in palliative treatment to relieve symptoms.

The new machines deliver radiation more precisely, and produce better images, so treatment can be modified on a daily basis to support the needs of patients.

On-board imaging, which enables staff to confirm the patient’s alignment, and RapidArc – a treatment technique that delivers radiation in a 360-degree arc around the patient – allow for more efficient treatment delivery and improved accuracy, ultimately resulting in better patient outcomes.

Approximately 55 per cent of cancer patients in B.C. require radiation therapy as part of their treatment plan. The linear accelerators typically operate eight hours per day, treating approximately 150 patients during that time period.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Learn more

• To find out more about the B.C. Cancer Agency’s cancer treatment and research, go online to bccancer.bc.ca.