Upgraded CT scanner unveiled
Clinical oncologist Christopher Fosker gave a tour of the upgraded CT scan simulation room at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, which will customise treatment at the new radiation therapy unit for cancer patients.
Dr Fosker, who is also the medical director and radiation oncologist at Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre, said that six patients had already used the CT scanner. There are 30 patients waiting to use the new radiation facility which has been supported by the Bermuda Hospitals Board and BCHC.
The radiation facility, located at BCHC, is due to open today and is expected to benefit about 200 Bermuda patients per year who would otherwise have had to travel overseas for treatment.
During the tour of the CT scanner unit at the hospital where a model posed as a patient, Dr Fosker explained: “We have the radiation team, myself and this is the CT scan simulation process — we are utilising the equipment that is already here in the hospital.
“To have radiation you need to have a CT scan beforehand so that we can design the radiation. The team is preparing the [model] patient in the same position that they will have their radiation treatment so that we can get images.
“Those images get sent down the road to BCHC where the treatment machine is. The images also get sent over to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and then, as a big team, we all design the radiation — we are working together in collaboration. We make sure the patient gets the best care possible.”
Dr Fosker said that the appointment slot for a CT scan is one hour to give time to position the patient on the equipment in the exact position they will be on the radiation unit. A quick scan is taken to locate the cancer on the patient. Depending on the case, it could take anything from two hours to two weeks to then progress to the radiation treatment.
Having a local radiation facility will reduce the excessive costs of getting treatment overseas.
He added: “We know that overseas care has different costs — it has costs for the insurer and it has costs to the patient.
“We estimate that individuals will make a savings benefit anywhere in the region of 20 to 40 per cent. Then when you add in the extras, the hotels and flights, it is going to make a huge difference.”
The radiation unit is able to treat most forms of cancer, but there are some exceptions. Dr Fosker explained: “We have made the choice that we don’t feel it is appropriate to treat paediatric patients because it is such an area of speciality.
“The only other type of radiation that is available and used reasonably frequently is internal radiation and we have made the choice to just do external radiation from the outside.”
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