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Bringing the Latest in Radiation Cancer Therapy to Seminole County

POSTED BY: Florida Hospital

Treating cancer effectively with radiation is all about precision. Tumors are often surrounded by normal organs and there is often a compromise between delivering high doses of radiation for cancer control while trying to minimize side effects and complications in nearby organs.

This is where the TrueBeam® system shines. It takes continuous, real-time images so that if a tumor moves even a millimeter — due to normal breathing or for any other reason — the radiation can follow it.

This level of precision means your doctors can direct more targeted radiation at a tumor and deliver it more than twice as fast. A session that may have taken 20 minutes in the past can now be completed in a fraction of the time.

“Patients appreciate quicker treatment, and I appreciate a heightened level of control that allows me to focus radiation at the tumor and avoid vital organs,” says Dr. Catherine Hwang, a radiation oncologist at Florida Hospital.

TrueBeam is available at Florida Hospital Altamonte, meaning Seminole County residents will have the latest in cancer technology close to home. It is in part due to this dedication to the highest levels of care that Florida Hospital Altamonte has been accredited by the American College of Radiology for Radiation Oncology.

What is radiation therapy?

Radiation therapy for cancer care consists of using high-energy rays to kill cancer cells or shrink tumors. Treatment can be delivered all at one time, or over several days to weeks. 

TrueBeam is the latest in “external beam” radiation technology. It is called “external” therapy because it delivers radiation from outside the body. Each treatment typically only lasts a matter of minutes and is totally non-invasive and painless. 

Depending on the site of the cancer and the goals of treatment, radiation therapy can last anywhere from a few days to more than nine weeks.

Unlike chemotherapy, which generally affects the whole body, radiation is directed at a specific target.

In some cases, radiation therapy is the only treatment a cancer patient will need. More often, though, it is used in conjunction with chemotherapy and surgery to maximize cancer control. Radiation can make these other treatments more effective, and it can help prevent cancer from coming back.

Who is eligible for TrueBeam?

More than half of all cancer patients are treated with radiation therapy, according to the American Cancer Society. Along with chemotherapy and surgery, radiation is one of the top three treatments for cancer.

The TrueBeam system can target tumors anywhere in the body, such as the lung, breast, prostate, head and neck. Our physicians use this technology routinely for our patients to minimize treatment-related toxicity while maximizing cancer control. Please feel free to ask your physician about how it will benefit your specific situation.

How is TrueBeam different?

TrueBeam is an advanced radiation therapy system that delivers powerful doses of radiation accurately and precisely. The accuracy comes from automatic checks that are performed 100 times a second to ensure that patients are treated correctly.

Its precision is measured in increments that are less than a millimeter. It uses advanced imaging and motion sensing technology, such as the Optical Surface Monitoring System (OSMS), to deliver treatment in a safe and effective manner.

These new capabilities reduce toxicity for surrounding vital organs while providing a more accurate delivery of radiation doses. This is achieved by the system’s ability to track patient’s surface and tumor movements in 3D, allowing for faster setup times and improved patient comfort during treatment.

Being able to deliver radiation therapy precisely allows physicians to treat a variety of cancers to a higher dose of radiation, which should translate to better cancer control rates. Increased precision also allows us to treat the tumor while sparing nearby normal organs from high doses of radiation.  

Though TrueBeam is effective on many types of cancer, Florida Hospital has made extra investments to treat breast cancer.

Minimizing Radiation in Breast Cancer

Most women receive radiation therapy for breast cancer while lying on their back.

An additional feature of the TrueBeam system is the Pivotal Prone Breast Care, which is providing our doctors with an additional tool to treat breast cancer. Breast cancer patients typically receive their treatment while lying on their backs, but with Pivotal Prone Breast Care, patients are treated lying face-down, or prone.

Studies have shown that prone breast radiation reduces radiation exposure to the underlying lung and heart. This may lower the risk of complications, such as future heart disease and lung damage. Furthermore, motion from breathing may be reduced in the prone position, helping to improve treatment accuracy

“The Pivotal Prone Breast Care System is a great feature of the new TrueBeam. It was designed with the patient in mind,” says Dr. Hwang. “This system helps to make patients more comfortable when they are lying on their bellies and allows me to offer prone breast radiation to more of my patients. My patients also appreciate knowing that their heart and lungs are being protected while they are receiving effective treatment for their cancer.”

This sort of peace of mind is a central part of the treatment philosophy at every Florida Hospital facility. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 407-303-1700 or visit our website