Ocala, Fla., June 7, 2023 – Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, LLC (FCS) has introduced a new technology that provides multiple benefits for cancer patients receiving radiation therapy at the FCS Ocala Cancer Center, the first and only comprehensive cancer center in Marion County.
Surface Guided Radiation Therapy (SGRT), an AlignRT® system from Vision RT, the inventors of and leaders in SGRT technology, helps protect the heart from radiation exposure and eliminates the need for patients to have small, but permanent, tattoos or marks on their skin used to position them for treatment. Additionally, the non-invasive, contactless technology provides benefits for cancer patients who may have compromised immune systems and helps to minimize anxiety for claustrophobic patients.
According to Sachin Kamath, MD, FCS Medical Director of Radiation Oncology, “While highly effective for treating many types of cancer, radiation treatment can present side effects. With our continued investments in advanced technologies such as SGRT, we ensure that our patients receive the safest and most modern therapies to achieve the best possible outcomes.”
Radiation therapy has been shown to be highly effective for many forms of cancer. The left breast and lungs are close to the heart, which makes the heart vulnerable to radiation exposure, which could lead to long-term cardiac complications.
The FCS Ocala Cancer Center was among the first to introduce a technique called Deep Inspiration Breath Hold to move the breast away from the heart during therapy, which can be challenging.
“We take extra precautions using Deep Inspiration Breath Hold to make sure that the heart receives minimal radiation exposure during treatment,” said FCS Board-certified radiation oncologist Luis Carrascosa, MD, who provides care at the Ocala Cancer Center. He points out that patients breathe in different ways at different times and align RT constitutes an additional safety mechanism to monitor the patient’s position and breathing during treatment giving the patient visual feedback of their breathing pattern
“AlignRT helps us go above and beyond to make sure the patient is correctly positioned at all times and that the normal organs at risk are protected,” Dr. Carrascosa said. “Using three camera units to monitor thousands of points on the skin, AlignRT can detect any motion — with sub-millimeter accuracy. If a patient moves out of position, the radiation beam is automatically turned off.
Traditional radiation therapy requires patients to receive small put permanent tattoos or marks on their skin to help radiation therapist position them for treatment. AlignRT’s use of three dimensional (3D) cameras means there is no longer need for these marks. “Radiation tattoos and marks used to be a difficult reminder for the patients that they had cancer – but with Align RT they are no longer needed” said Dr. Carrascosa.
Another benefit of the AlignRT system is that it is a completely non-invasive, contactless technology. “Limiting contact has become more important than ever, especially with cancer patients who may have compromised immune systems,” said Dr. Carrascosa.
FCS provides a comprehensive range of state-of-the-art radiation oncology therapies at locations across Florida, including the Ocala Cancer Center.