High Technology Equipment Used by St. Mary's Oncologists
Varian Linac EX with MLC
Varian 2100 EX Linear Accelerator has an 80 leaf multi-leaf collimator (MLC). This treatment machine has 6 and 18 MeV photon energies and a spectrum of five different electron energies.
The Ximatron Simulator
The Varian system’s companion device – the Ximatron simulator – also enhances radiation precision. Before actual radiation therapy begins, the Ximatron conducts a simulated treatment session, allowing the radiation oncologist to pinpoint the exact area requiring treatment.
During the simulation, a therapist may create a special mold called a "cradle," which is shaped according to each person’s unique anatomy. This mold is used in all radiation therapy treatments to ensure consistent positioning for each patient. In addition, the therapist takes photographs and x-rays of the area to be treated. A computerized tomography (CT) may also be performed to most effectively position the radiation beam.
3-D Treatment Planning System
The ADAC Pinnacle 3 system sets the standard for 3-D treatment planning systems. Precision doses of radiation are delivered to the tumor site with minimal involvement to surrounding normal tissue, which decreases adverse reactions and complications.
Varian VariSource High Dose Rate Afterloader (HDR)
This cancer therapy attacks malignant cells by placing a radioactive source within or adjacent to cancerous tissue. Physicians use brachytherapy primarily as a complement to external beam radiation therapy to improve local control of tumors.
We also use brachytherapy for treatment of the early stage of breast cancer. After the lumpectomy, the surgeon places a MammoSite™ catheter with a balloon on the end filled with fluid to fill the lumpectomy cavity. The HDR source travels through the catheter to the balloon. Instead of seven weeks of external beam radiation treatment, MammoSite™ brachytherapy treatment is for five days, twice per day.
St. Mary's Cancer Center is the only center in the tri-state area which offers Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS). Stereotactic Radiosurgery is a one-day, non-invasive outpatient procedure that delivers a high dose of radiation to a small intracranial target while minimizing the dose to the surrounding normal brain. A volume of diseased tissue deep within the brain can be destroyed without open surgery and without the risk of bleeding and infection.