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HomeNewsRadiation therapy trial reduces cancer patients’ treatment time

Radiation therapy trial reduces cancer patients’ treatment time

Cancer patients in New South Wales are benefitting from a new palliative care radiation trial at Royal North Shore Hospital’s Cancer Centre which is reducing the time spent in treatment.

The trial will treat some of the region’s sickest cancer patients with higher and more precise doses of radiation therapy, reducing the time spent in treatment and potentially alleviating some of the painful symptoms of treatment.

The trial, which is the first internationally on Varian’s Ethos machine, will treat patients with higher, more targeted doses of radiation therapy, potentially alleviating painful symptoms of cancer and spending less time in hospital.

One of those patients is Nigel Nettleship of Avalon, who was diagnosed with myeloma earlier this year, with a tumour detected at the base of his sacrum. 

“I was originally warned of low haemoglobin by the Red Cross Blood Bank when attending for a routine donation. I had no pain or other symptoms, and we seem to have caught my problem early,” Nigel said.

“When I was referred to the Cancer Centre for radiotherapy, I was asked and was happy to take part in the trial. I have had one treatment so far as an outpatient, with no after effects for me.

I am sure the trial has delivered an important benefit to my overall treatment which is progressing well
Patient, Nigel Nettleship of Avalon

RNSH radiation oncologist Professor Tom Eade, said the advanced technology of the Ethos radiotherapy machine would have benefits beyond the faster therapy delivery time and more targeted doses.

The Varian Ethos machine used at the RNSH provides personalised, adaptive treatment that can adjust to changes in the tumour and ensure the cancer receives the optimum dose of radiation, while the surrounding healthy tissue is spared.

“We’re hopeful delivering larger doses of radiation in shorter time frames will have advantages for patients undergoing palliative radiotherapy, but the adaptive technology also means we can create treatment plans on the day to respond to how the cancer may be changing within the patient’s body,” Professor Eade said.

“Previously this process would have taken longer and meant the patient would have to wait while these treatment plans were created.

“While undergoing palliative radiotherapy, how the cancer is positioned or located can change along with their body – so this technology allows us to follow it, target the cancerous tissue and manage some of the symptoms they may be experiencing.”

The trial will run for up to five years and continue to gather evidence and inform palliative care into the future.

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