PLAINS TWP. — A radiotherapy and radiosurgery system now offered at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center gives physicians a fast, non-invasive and precise tool to treat complex cancers in fewer sessions.
The TrueBeam system at the Henry Cancer Center provides high-energy radiation, which enables treatment with high doses of radiation while minimizing doses to surrounding, normal tissues.
“Caring for cancer patients and their families is complex and requires a comprehensive approach,” said Dr. Rajiv P. Panikkar, chair of the Geisinger Cancer Institute. “This $4.5 million investment improves patients’ experiences and outcomes. Our team can tackle complex cancers in fewer treatments and even deliver repeat radiation in certain situations.”
Dr. Michael Greenberg, northeast director of radiation oncology at Geisinger, explained that the technololgy is not just powerful, but can be applied in a wide range of cases, including brain, lung and prostate cancers.
“It’s very versatile,” Greenberg said. “It can be used for every type of cancer.”
TrueBeam can generate high-quality, 3D images of the tumor and the surrounding anatomy. Together with robotic technology, that allows the beam to adjust its focus, because tumors don’t necessarily sit still.
“Tumors move as the body moves,” Greenberg said, such as when patients breathe or shift.
The system’s precision not only provides focused treatment on tumors, it minimizes radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue.
“This opens up a whole new world,” Greenberg said.
Anand Mahadevan, radiation oncologist and chair of Radiation at Geisinger, agreed.
“Tumors are treated with pinpoint precision — no surgery, no incisions and no post-surgical healing,” Mahadevan said. “Treatments that once took 10 to 30 minutes can now be completed in less than 2 minutes.”
* * *
An earlier version of this story indicated that Geisinger is the first organization in Northeastern Pennsylvania to use the TrueBeam technology. Officials with Commonwealth Health say they have had the same machine at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital “for almost two years now.”