The Oncology Department at Groote Schuur Hospital has now unveiled its brand new R35-million halcyon radiotherapy machine. This new machine was introduced to help manage the hospital’s growing number of cancer patients who require treatment.

The hospital’s Oncology Department treats more than 3 000 patients annually, and this number rises every year. More than half of these patients require radiotherapy, and this is used either to cure or ease the effects of their cancer.

Groote Schuur treats nearly 40 000 follow-up patients every year.

The machine cost a reported R36-million, and is not the hospital’s only new edition. Two other new radiotherapy machines were installed, as well as a new state-of-the-art brachytherapy machine.

The new halcyon radiotherapy machine means that the hospital is now able to treat up to 40 patients per day and it uses a linear particle accelerator to give high-quality radiotherapy.

Speaking to IOL, the hospital’s Head of Radiation Oncology Jeanette Parkes offers simplified treatment procedures and self-shielding.

“Yet, the halcyon is able to treat complicated radiotherapy plans that conform to the highest standards in the world,” she said. “Image guidance allows the treatment team to acquire a cone beam CT of the treatment area in seconds while the patient is in position on the treatment bed, and fuse that with the planning CT images. This allows accurate verification of the patient’s position during every radiotherapy treatment day. This is particularly important for patients who are being treated in areas where soft-tissue organs can move with daily physiological changes.”

The halcyon machine is groundbreaking because it has a totally different design to other linacs, and closely resembles a CT scanner.

Picture: GroundUp

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