New precision cancer treatment introduced at specialist clinic
Cancer patients have been given a new high-precision non-surgical treatment option, the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre announced.
Chris Fosker, the BCHC medical director, said stereotactic ablative radiotherapy, also known as stereotactic body radiation therapy, used a radiation beam that delivered high doses of radiation to small targets with great precision.
He added treatment usually lasted about two weeks and required three to five sessions.
Dr Fosker said the treatment was reckoned to be faster and more accurate than other forms of radiation therapy, which can take weeks to complete, and is best suited for treating early stage cancers.
He added SABR had about the same success rate as cancer removal surgery.
The treatment was added to the clinic’s list of radiation therapy options after a first wave of treatments last month.
Dr Fosker said: “Delivering SABR treatments has been a goal of the centre’s since the radiation unit opened in 2017.”
He added that Patrick Murray, one of centre’s radiation oncologists, joined in 2020 and his experience with the technique gave “on the ground experience” needed to move forward with the treatment.
Dr Murray said: “We have conservative estimates of treating ten patients a year currently.
“But if lung screening formally commences, and as more medical colleagues are aware of our capabilities, then we see this technique taking up to 20 to 25 per cent of our current practice.”
SABR technology was introduced through the BCHC’s link-up with the Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Centre in Boston.
A specialist team with the US centre helped install the equipment and trained Bermudian staff in its use.
Daphne Haas-Kogan, the chairwoman of the radiation oncology department at the Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Centre, said that the technology had “revolutionised” the way many cancers were treated.
She added: “We’re glad that our partnership with Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre can bring these leading-edge treatment options to Bermuda so patients can receive the best possible care near home.”