LONG BRANCH, NJ, April 17, 2008 – Monmouth Medical Center, an affiliate of the Saint Barnabas Health Care System, implemented TomoTherapy, an advanced cancer treatment system that optimizes the delivery of radiation for tumors, at the newly refurbished Institute for Advanced Radiation Oncology at the Leon Hess Cancer Center, with treatment of the first patient on Wednesday, April 16. An Open House, celebrating the arrival and commencement of the TomoTherapy program at Monmouth Medical Center was held Thursday evening, April 17.
TomoTherapy combines precise 3-D imaging from CT scans with highly targeted radiation beams. The physician decides how much radiation the tumor should receive, as well as acceptable levels for surrounding structures. The system then calculates the appropriate pattern, position and intensity of the radiation beam to be delivered, to match the physician’s prescription as closely as possible.
Mitchell Weiss, MD, chairman of Radiation Oncology at Monmouth Medical Center, said, “TomoTherapy delivers a very sophisticated form of intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) with such precision that surrounding healthy tissue receives lower doses than delivered by more conventional radiation therapy.” He added, “Less damage to surrounding tissue may result in minimal complications for patients.”
Dr. Weiss said that TomoTherapy can also greatly reduce the side effects of traditional radiation therapy, which “is very important for our patients who bravely carry on their busy lives during treatment.”
According to Dr. Weiss, TomoTherapy is different from other types of radiation treatment in a very important way. “Before each treatment, therapists can take a verification CT image (VRCT) to make sure your TomoTherapy treatment is targeted to the exact location of your tumor. Some types of tumors can change shape or even shift from day to day. With TomoTherapy’s VRCT, your physician can be sure that each treatment is targeted right where it should be.”
The TomoTherapy system uses a rotating beam of radiation that is constantly modulated to target the exact size and shape of the cancer. During treatment, the radiation rotates 360 degrees. While conventional radiotherapy delivers a wide beam of radiation from just a few directions, the TomoTherapy system delivers small beamlets of radiation from every point on a spiral. The rotating TomoTherapy beam can accurately shape the radiation as prescribed by your physician and can treat both large tumors and multiple sites at the same time. Each treatment takes approximately 15 minutes.
Frank J. Vozos, MD, executive director of Monmouth Medical Center, said the addition of TomoTherapy at Monmouth Medical Center – the only hospital in Monmouth or Ocean Counties to offer this level of cancer treatment – brings a very powerful, personalized approach to care, close to home.
“The best aspect of TomoTherapy is that each person receives a plan entirely customized to his or her tumor,” Dr. Vozos said. “Since patients reach their greatest potential when they are treated as an individual rather than simply a body with a diagnosis, this new technology helps us to further the goal of personalized care in a very powerful way.”
TomoTherapy is an ideal treatment for prostate cancer, head and neck cancer, as well as retreatment, due to the pinpoint accuracy of the new technology.
Dr. Vozos added, “We are extremely excited to have this cutting-edge technology, and we think it will have a tremendously positive impact for our patients.”
The addition of TomoTherapy coincided with aesthetic upgrades to the Institute for Advanced Radiation Oncology that creates a warm, homelike atmosphere. As part of a second phase of construction, a new
“Patient and Family Waiting” will be created thanks to the generosity of the Women’s Council for the Leon Hess Cancer Center.
Gaining international, national and state recognition for its clinical research into advanced methods of radiation therapy in recent years, the Institute for Advanced Radiation Oncology at the Leon Hess Cancer Center’s achievements paved the way for Monmouth Medical Center to become the first hospital in Monmouth County to earn accreditation from the American College of Radiation Oncology for the quality, safety and appropriateness of its radiation therapy.
Free tours of Monmouth Medical Center’s Institute for Advanced Radiation Oncology for the general public are offered the second Friday of each month from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. For more information on TomoTherapy or the Leon Hess Cancer Center, call 1-888-724-7123.
CONTACT: Kristine A. Brown
Director of Public Relations
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