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Bellingham Bulletin

Milford Regional Offers Advanced Cancer Treatments with Addition of Linear Accelerator

Sep 27, 2018 07:00AM ● By Pamela Johnson

Radiation Oncologist Dr. Peter F. Orio, III, (right) and Radiation Therapist Cammie Kwong prepare to treat a patient using the new equipment.

A new linear accelerator has been installed at Dana-Farber/ Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center at Milford Regional Medical Center offering expanded radiation oncology services to our patients locally and with greater convenience.

The Varian TrueBeam® linear accelerator is one of the most advanced cancer treatment systems in the region, providing pinpoint accuracy to radiate tumors while minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissues.  With the TrueBeam, the Cancer Center is the first and only center in the MetroWest area to offer a frameless, open facemask for patients receiving stereotactic radiosurgery, as opposed to the skull-bolted frame used elsewhere.
  
With the installation of this new equipment, there are now two advanced linear accelerators available to treat patients in Milford area, which allows greater scheduling flexibility for patients to be treated locally at their convenience.

 “Milford Regional Medical Center continues to grow and offer new technology,” says Radiation Oncologist Dr. Peter F. Orio, III, vice chair of network operations of radiation oncology for Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Centers. “We now have greater capacity to treat patients with cutting edge technologies without the need for them to travel to a major city located many miles from home. We are opening new services that were not previously available in Milford, and can offer a more personalized approach to treatment. This really is a feather in Milford’s cap.”

The TrueBeam system can treat cancer anywhere in the body, including lung, breast, prostate, spine and bone, or brain metastases. The new linear accelerator allows the Cancer Center to provide patients with the option of receiving stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and a broader range of stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) closer to home. Previously, patients had to travel to Boston to receive those treatments.

SRS is a minimally-invasive, non-surgical therapy for small metastatic tumors of the brain involving the use of a single high-dose of radiation delivered with pinpoint accuracy to the tumor with treatments being delivered in one to five sessions. SBRT is a type of cancer therapy which utilizes precisely focused beams of radiation to target tumors and reduce the effects on surrounding normal tissues. Expanded SBRT treatments for liver, spine and pancreas tumors will soon be available to patients at the Cancer Center at Milford Regional.

SRS and SBRT treatments do not require anesthesia and do not involve an incision.  Treatments are performed on an outpatient basis so patients can return to their normal activities immediately after their treatment.

In addition, the advanced TrueBeam can synchronize a radiation beam to an imaging system that allows doctors to see the tumor they are treating in real time. The system can also compensate for a patient’s breathing as it targets the tumor, which is particularly good for tumors in the chest and belly because they move with each breath.

The installation of the TrueBeam linear accelerator is the culmination of an extensive three-year permitting process with the state Department of Public Health, and a year-long construction project at the Cancer Center. Dr. Orio added that the approval of the TrueBeam is not only an acknowledgement of the need to increase treatment capacity locally, but a testament of the quality of care that is provided at Milford Regional’s Cancer Center.

“Anyone can buy technology, but you have to have the right people to use it,” says Dr. Orio of the highly trained and skilled staff at the Cancer Center.
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