The CT Simulator at the Lourdes Regional Cancer Center gives Lourdes patients an extra edge in the fight against cancer.
CT Simulation is one of the latest advances in the field of Radiation Oncology for the treatment of cancer, and is available at Lourdes Regional Cancer Center. CT Simulation is the most accurate process available to localize, define, and reconstruct, in 3-dimension, a patient's tumor. This process identifies the tumor along with the normal tissue surrounding it, allowing the Radiation Oncologist to design a treatment plan unique to each patient's anatomy. It enables the Radiation Therapist to map the resulting treatment coordinates with a high degree of accuracy.
Vital to the process of CT Simulation is a dedicated CT Simulator, which differs from a conventional CAT scan in a number of respects. A series of internal and external lasers permit proper positioning of the patient on the treatment table. Small skin markers are correlated with the patient's internal anatomy and tumor. The table position of the simulator can be precisely indexed and documented to accurately reproduce the treatment set-up each day over the 5 - 8 weeks of therapy. All of this information is transferred to the 3-dimensional planning computer and the linear accelerator, which is the treatment machine. Multiple checks are in place to ensure the accuracy of daily treatments.
"It's unusual to see technology like this available at a community hospital. This cutting edge technology is typically only seen in university settings, and reflects the commitment that Lourdes has for the treatment of our cancer patients," said Lourdes Radiation Oncology Director Michael Fallon, MD. "It allows us to localize and define the tumor itself, while also identifying the healthy tissue. The advantage is that it minimizes the amount of toxicity to the surrounding healthy tissue that does not need to be treated."
The CT Simulator also reduces the amount of time patients are at the center. It allows a patient to receive a full CT scan in three to five minutes. The same machine provides the simulated coordinates for the high-energy radiation treatments. A patient can schedule another appointment for the actual delivery of treatment.
"One of the advantages of having this technology is that we know we are providing the best and most accurate treatment available to our patients," Fallon said.