Radiation Oncology at YGBOI
Radiation Oncology at YGBOI includes:
- A CT scanner for 3D and 4D treatment planning
- Medical Physics & treatment planning with a Dosimetrist
- A linear accelerator equipped with multi-leaf collimators
- On-board imaging capabilities and 3D/IMRT/VMAT/DIBH treatments
- Varian single database record and verify system (ARIA)
Prior to 2008, Meadville Medical Center did not offer Radiation Therapy
to our community. When the Board of Directors and Administration made
the decision to open an Outpatient Cancer Treatment Facility; the decision
was also made to make it a Comprehensive Cancer Center, where patients
could receive Medical and Radiation Oncology treatments.
Radiation therapy is an essential component of standardized cancer treatment.
A linear accelerator is the machine that safely delivers the prescribed
dose of radiation to patients in need. Radiation therapy requires patients
to have multiple treatments for an extended period of time. Simulations
are performed with a CT scanner equipped with Tumor Localization software.
Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and Volumetric Modulated
Arc Therapy (VMAT) treatment planning is done utilizing the radiation
planning system. These treatments are delivered using a linear accelerator
which is equipped with on-board imaging capabilities along with the capabilities
for Deep Inspiration Breathhold (DIBH).
Our first Linear Accelerator was purchased in the fall of 2007; before
the Yolanda G. Barco Oncology Institute had opened its doors. The delivery
of the ‘linac’ was on Saturday, December 1, 2007. The date
is easy to remember; as we knew the impact that machine would have on
our community. It would have been more economical to go with a basic linear
accelerator. But instead, we purchased the latest/greatest model on the
market. Prior to that, patients would have had to travel to Pittsburgh
or Cleveland to receive Radiation Therapy from such a complex machine.
The next several months were spent commissioning the new linear accelerator,
hiring experienced radiation staff, and opening the new department.
But that was 12 years ago, and after treating thousands of patients on
our machine, we have purchased a new one. Meadville Medical Center remains
committed to providing cancer care close to home, while having access
to state of the art cancer treatment.
The new Linear Accelerator (TrueBeam) offers the same complexity as our
previous machine, but also has access to modern modalities such as Stereotactic
Radiosurgery (SRS) and Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) that may
reduce treatment time for many patients, a faster more accurate imaging
system, gated VMAT Radiotherapy, faster conebeam CT (CBCT) acquistions
for specialized breathhold treatments and all on the “Perfect Pitch”
6 degrees of freedom couch with advanced robitcs for even more accurate
patient set ups.
State-of-the-Art Cancer Treatment in Meadville, PA
The Yolanda Barco Oncology Institute at Meadville Medical Center (MMC)
is dedicated to providing the highest standard of advanced cancer treatment
services. The TrueBeam Linear Accelerator from Varian Medical Systems
is one of the more advanced, sophisticated machines in the world.
The versatile TrueBeam system can be used to deliver the widest range of
external beam radiotherapy for cancer treatments, including:
- 3D conformal Radiotherapy
- IMRT Radiotherapy
- VMAT Radiotherapy
- Stereotactic Radiosurgery
- 4D Gating
Advanced imaging capabilities built into the system allow therapists to
position patients for treatment with millimeter accuracy, making sure
the tumor is lined up precisely with the treatment beam before the beam
is turned on. A respiratory gating system takes into account the tumor
movement that can occur as a patient breathes.
How It Works
Prior to treatment, images of a patient's tumor and the surrounding
anatomy are generated (using MRI, CT or PET scanning), and clinicians
use this information, along with sophisticated analytical software programs,
to prepare a detailed treatment plan. The treatment plan specifies the
exact dose to be delivered to the tumor, as well as how the technology
can best deliver that dose, given the three-dimensional geometry of the
target and surrounding tissues.
When the patient arrives for treatment, radiation therapists use the TrueBeam’s
advanced imaging system to confirm the exact tumor position relative to
the radiation beam, and to make any needed adjustments before treatment
begins. The robotic table with 6 degrees of freedom couch, is designed
to help deliver advanced radiation techniques with high level of accuracy
and reproducibility. Some treatments, primarily for small lesions and
metastases, can be accomplished in a single session, while other treatments
require multiple sessions.
Through more precise targeting of the beam, radiotherapy may become more
effective at treating disease while simultaneously reducing side effects
of the treatment. Due to the increased accuracy and power, smaller lesions
can be treated more easily and effectively.
The TrueBeam system incorporates the ability to position the patient exactly,
using images of the tumor and surrounding anatomy taken just prior to
each treatment. The images are used to verify tumor position immediately
before the radiation beam is switched on. This care applied to treatment
accuracy means maximizing the dose to the tumor, and minimizing the dose
to surrounding healthy tissue. The respiratory gating system automatically
turns the beam off and on to compensate for breathing motion during treatment.
With respiratory gating, the beam is switched on only when the tumor is
within a known location. This keeps the radiation beam focused on the
tumor, and further protects normal healthy tissues.
The TrueBeam system and its accessories can shape a beam very precisely,
with millimeter accuracy. In addition to the precision of its beam, TrueBeam
offers the highest dose rates available, to deliver a potent punch of
radiation in a short amount of time. This combination of precision and
power allows the TrueBeam to reduce both treatment times and side effects.
A Whole-Person Approach
At the heart of the whole-person approach to health and wellness, the Yolanda
G. Barco Oncology Institute provides coordinated counseling and nutrition
Also available are services that promote "whole body healing”—including
massage therapy, nutritional counseling, pain management and support groups.
Doctors say these lifestyle, behavior, diet, and overall wellness programs
will help patients be more proactive in their health and recovery. Learn
more about our Meadville hospital and cancer treatment center when you
call or visit today.