Island Cancer Center offers concentrated radiation treatment - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Island Cancer Center offers concentrated radiation treatment

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 by Jolene Toves

Guam - Receiving treatment for cancer takes a toll on the physical health of the cancer patient and Island Cancer Center has provided an option for patients that concentrates treatment and helps reduce the after effects of the radiation treatment.

Radiation oncologist Dr. Kin Au said, "IMRT stands for Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy planning it is one of the most important advances in radiation delivery in the last decade it uses a combination of sophisticated computer algorithms together with special treatment design to enable delivery of radiation to a specifically designed area of concern and at the same time minimizing radiation to normal tissues to reduce side effects and complications."

IMRT is typically used for patients who have highly irregular tumor volumes which needs a customized treatment plan. Au says that it is used for tumors which are close to vital organs that they want to avoid and patients treated for a curative intent, saying, "The goal of radiation treatment is to delivery radiation treatment to kill or eliminate cancer cells while sparing the normal tissues or organs around the tumor so Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy or IMRT delivers radiation in a highly conformal way breaking up the radiation into thousands and thousands of beamlits or tiny radiation beams."

A computer is used to generate a design where the radiation is deposited in the tumor volume avoiding sensitive organs around the tumor. Au says that this maximizes tumor control and destruction of the tumor while minimizing the effects on the normal tissues surrounding it. Patients undergo 25 consecutive days of treatment which normally takes 12 minutes per patient. And while it has been reported that this treatment is brand new to Guam, Island Cancer Center wants to clarify that they have been utilizing the IMRT for four years.

ICC administrator William Sessoms said, "So far since we have been here since April 2010 we have done 20,000 treatments of those approximately 40 percent are IMRT not all cancers are eligible for IMRT but the ones that are we use it on and it is right along the national average so 8,000 IMRT treatments have been done a total of 833 patients have benefited from our services."
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