Robert R. Cawley, D.O.
Dover, NH 03802
The Varian Edge Linear Accelerator is found at some of the top cancer treatment centers across the country, and now it’s right here on the Seacoast. Wentworth-Douglass Hospital’s Seacoast Cancer Center recently invested in this state-of-the-art technology to offer patients with cancer the most comprehensive and most precise radiation treatments in the region.
“This is the first Edge in New England, and it is configured to treat every cancer and every patient whose care plan includes radiation therapy – from the most common cancers to the most advanced treatments. We are offering world class cancer treatments closer to home for Seacoast residents,” says Arul Mahadevan, MD, FRCS, Medical Director of Radiation Oncology at the Seacoast Cancer Center.
Radiation therapy is one of the most common cancer treatment options. It uses high-energy particles or waves, such as X-rays, gamma rays, electron beams, or protons, to destroy or damage cancer cells. Depending on a patient’s treatment plan, radiation treatments can be just a few days, or for some cancers, daily treatments over a span of several weeks.
Stereotactic radiosurgery, which The Edge provides, enhances the radiation therapy options and makes them available to more patients. It delivers accurate and aggressive cancer treatments to tumors of the lung, brain, spine, and other areas of the body – pinpointing tumors with the highest dose rate available for faster treatment times.
“This is a win for patients who need daily treatments for weeks at a time. They’ll notice much shorter treatment times, and in some cases, we can cut the total treatment time in half,” says Dr. Mahadevan.
The high doses are possible because the Edge is coupled with realtime, high-quality imaging to target the tumor location and protect the surrounding healthy tissues. And during treatment, advanced cameras monitor thousands of points on the skin to track a patient’s natural
movements, like breathing. If the patient’s treatment area moves outside an acceptable tolerance, by even a millimeter, the radiation dosage is paused until the patient is back in an optimal position.
“This motion monitoring is particularly beneficial for left breast cancer treatment. Because the beam stops with motion outside tolerance, it protects against radiation exposure to the nearby heart,” says Dong Meng, M.S. DABR (T, D), Chief of Physics and Dosimetry at the Seacoast Cancer Center.
Radiation therapy is used alone or in combination with other therapies, such as chemotherapy, biological therapy or surgery. The Seacoast Cancer Center offers these comprehensive cancer treatments and services, along with a full complement of support and wellness programs, from acupuncture and social workers to financial counselors.
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