New technology places Epworth as stereotactic leader

Epworth Radiation Oncology has treated its first patient on the Varian TrueBeam. Epworth Radiation Oncology’s new linear accelerator uses stereotactic radiotherapy — a highly accurate radiation beam that specifically targets tumours using onboard imaging, a robotic treatment couch and directed beam treatment.

The machine rotates around the patient to deliver a prescribed radiation dose from multiple angles with sub-millimetre precision.

The new addition at Epworth Freemasons, along with the existing technology at Epworth Richmond, makes Epworth the largest stereotactic radiotherapy provider in Victoria.

“Epworth Radiation Oncology has commenced treatment on its fourth linear accelerator, the Varian TrueBeam at Epworth Freemasons,” says Director of Epworth Radiation Oncology Dr Pat Bowden.

“This advanced technology enables our Epworth Freemasons patients and referring doctors to have access to stereotactic radiosurgery for the first time. Radiosurgery enables eradication of certain tumours with highly targeted radiation beams that cause minimal or no side effects. With the TrueBeam purchase, Epworth Radiation Oncology continues to provide the most technologically advanced radiotherapy facilities in the country.”

Over 80 patients have so far been treated on the TrueBeam in its first two weeks of operation. The full range of radiation therapy technologies available to Epworth cancer patients includes stereotactic, deep inspiration breath hold for breast cancer, and Calypso.

Deep inspiration breath hold is used to reduce the dose received by the heart for left-sided breast cancer patients, reducing their risk of long-term cardiac events.

Calypso is the ‘GPS for the body’ where small transponders are inserted into the pelvis for prostate cancer patients to help locate the treatment area; it is interfaced with the linear accelerator and sends signals to the machine to compensate for any patient movements. This allows the treatment to be even more accurate than previously possible, and offers the opportunity to improve patient outcomes.

“The Epworth Radiation Oncology team have done a fantastic job bringing these new treatment platforms to Epworth, and the attention to detail in training and documentation has meant the patient treatment was seamless,” says Paul Fenton, director of operations, Epworth Radiation Oncology.

This is the first clinical installation of Calypso in Australia and is offered at Epworth Richmond and Epworth Freemasons.

Pictured: the Varian TrueBeam