Advanced Technology & Precision for Radiation Cancer Treatment

When it comes to treating cancer, there is no room for error. That’s why University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center at Firelands Regional Medical now treats cancer with radiation therapy using the Elekta Linear Accelerator (commonly called a linac). This technology upgrades the current linear accelerator, which has been used to methodically and accurately treat patients using radiation for years.

“As with most technology, the linac systems change rapidly in their capabilities,” says Physicist Carl Shields, PhD, at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center at Firelands Regional Medical Center. “We have always had great delivery systems with our previous linac machines, but now we have even more technology at our
disposal.”

The care team at UH Seidman Cancer Center at Firelands Regional Medical Center develops a customized plan for each patient undergoing radiation therapy based on their diagnosis, the location of the tumor, the dosage needed to treat the tumor and other factors. The new linac technology helps in this process. 

“The new linac gives us even more information through imaging for better treatment plans,” says Radiation Oncologist Dr. Mersiha Hadziahmetovic.“It helps us to confirm the precise positioning of the patient and the dimensions of the tumor.” 

Dr. Hadziahmetovic cites volumated modulated arc therapy technology as one of the most important aspects of the linac that will help patient care.

“As the technology and imaging gets better and better, the linac machine has better conformity to the tumor, meaning that more of the cancer can be targeted while sparing surrounding tissues. Tumors require more radiation than critical structures like the brain, heart and lungs can handle. This technology helps to fit the radiation to the tumor and keep healthy tissues from becoming damaged,” she says.

In addition, both Dr. Shields and Dr. Hadziahmetovic say in most cases the linac will reduce the time patients spend being treated during each radiation cancer treatment session because this technology offers higher dosing rates. This could reduce the treatment session time by as much as sixty percent.

“Especially for patients who are in radiation masks or confined in the machine, the reduction in treatment time is an incredible benefit,” says Dr. Hadziahmetovic. “Laying still on a hard surface for close to an hour is difficult for anyone. Patients are much more comfortable with shorter treatment times, while still achieving fantastic results.”

In addition to this state-of-the-art technology, the physicians and care team at UH Seidman Cancer Center at Firelands Regional Medical Center continue to follow standard of care protocols that ensure a customized treatment plan for each patient. When this plan is derived, it then is reviewed by the disease site leader at University Hospitals, the person who has the most expertise about the type of cancer being treated. This peer review ensures that the radiation dosage and rate is the most effective means of treating the cancer and that the patient’s best interest is always put first.

“The care team here is always looking for ways to treat cancer better and faster and to care for our patients more meaningfully,” says Dr. Hadziahmetovic. “For me, it is this genuine care for patients that drives me to continue to improve. The acquisition of the linac machine allows us to harness the excellent properties of radiation that kill cancer in an efficient, smart and meaningful way. Because we have this technology, we are able to eliminate cancer cells and spare more tissues, getting patients back to their lives faster and healthier.”

Learn more about the radiation cancer treatment services at Firelands Regional Medical Center today.