One of the greatest challenges doctors face when treating cancer is how
to destroy cancer cells without damaging a patient’s normal, healthy
cells. That’s why oncologists at Torrance Memorial Medical Center
are praising the power and precision of the latest advance in radiation
It’s a stereotatic radiotherapy treatment delivering narrow, powerful
radiation beams using the world’s most technologically advanced
linear accelerator, the TrueBeam®.
“The TrueBeam has two great strengths: high precision and flexibility,”
notes Dr. Thyra Endicott, a radiation oncologist at Torrance Memorial.
“It can be used for treating tiny tumors with very tight dose margins
and highly exact setup, and it can be used to treat broader areas if the
cancer has already spread to adjacent lymph nodes.”
TrueBeam’s accuracy is submillimeter. That’s thanks to a special
tracking system that monitors tumor movement during treatment.
“Patients are dynamic, breathing human beings; they don’t stay
still like a statue when you treat them,” says Dr. Endicott. “The
most important new technology we are gaining with the TrueBeam unit is
the Calypso® Extracranial Tracking system. By implanting radiofrequency-activated
markers within the target, Calypso enables us to track tumor movements
in real time during the treatment delivery. We will use this tracking
system for many different cancer types. For men with prostate cancer,
it will help us minimize dose to the bowel and bladder. For women with
left-sided breast cancer, it will help minimize radiation dose to heart
As a result, doctors can deliver radiation more quickly and in higher doses
to the tumor, with a significant decrease in the risk of damage to healthy
tissue. That means higher efficacy rates and fewer side effects for patients.
Stereotatic radiotherapy treatment planning is individualized for each
cancer patient. Radiation oncologists collaborate with physicists and
dosimetrists to establish the optimal treatment plan, including number
of visits, mode of delivery and direction of beams. Neurosurgeons, pulmonologists
and radiologists are also involved in treatment planning. Physicians are
currently using TrueBeam to treat brain tumors, cancer of the oral cavity
and throat, and for prostate cancers that need very tight margins.
Torrance Memorial Medical Center has two additional highly precise linear
accelerators for treatment of cancers where TrueBeam® therapy is not optimal.
To make an appointment to see one of the physicians of Torrance Memorial
Physician Network - Cancer Care please call (310) 750-3300. For information
on all our services, visit us at www.tmphysiciannetwork.org/Cancer-Care.