Radiotherapy begins with the CT simulation process.

The Michael and Dianne Bienes Comprehensive Cancer Center at Holy Cross is proud to announce the arrival and commissioning of state-of-the-art radiotherapy equipment. The success of radiotherapy is dependent upon the ability to methodically create a safe and effective radiotherapy plan and thereafter ensure that treatment delivery is both accurate and precise. In order to achieve the aforementioned goals, highly trained, certified and experienced medical teams along with the finest equipment are necessary.

Radiotherapy begins with the CT simulation process. This step is done to help plan one's radiotherapy by obtaining a CT scan that is used for subsequent treatment planning. Our CT simulator is being upgraded with further 4-D capability to allow us to follow and track one's breathing. This is particularly useful for treatment of thoracic malignancies. Furthermore, we can utilize approaches such as breath hold for treatment of breast cancer.

Once a CT scan is ascertained, treatment planning ensues. Previous diagnostic information including scans such as MRI, CT, and PET/CT are uploaded and fused by our physics and dosimetry team. At this time, the medical team reviews the imaging and utilizes software to contour or draw the tumor as well as the rest of the patient's anatomy. We are currently utilizing the treatment planning computer and electronic medical record systems of Pinnacle and Mosaiq for this purpose and are looking forward to the addition of the advanced systems of Eclipse and ARIA. The purpose of treatment planning is to ensure a plan that delivers curative doses of radiotherapy while minimizing side effect. Once a plan is reviewed and found to be optimal we move on to the treatment delivery step.

As a complement to our established Elekta equipment, we are currently in the process of installing the Varian True Beam linear accelerator for treatment deliver. Advanced treatment techniques such as volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT), stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT), and stereotactic radiotherapy (SRS) will be delivered on this True Beam device. This machine will not only be the newest in our region, but also one of the most upgraded units in the country. As such, Varian, the radiotherapy company, even proposed utilizing our cancer center to showcase our innovative radiotherapy program. We are also upgrading our brachytherapy units so we can provide not only traditional treatments for gynecological and genitourinary malignancies, but also the treatment of skin and gastrointestinal diseases. These resources will also provide an opportunity for more clinical trials at our institution. We will have a unique department that supports both Varian and Elekta machines to ensure our patients receive individualized care and are treated on equipment that provide optimal and personalized treatment.

Vivek Patel, MD