Lady Hardinge starts radiation therapy treatment at hospital

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Lady Hardinge starts radiation therapy treatment at hospital

The first radiation therapy treatment of a cancer patient at Lady Hardinge Medical College was done using a sophisticated Brachytherapy (Internal Radiation) equipment, in its newly constructed Radiation Oncology Block on 9th April 2024. The department had been providing OPD and chemotherapy services for cancer patients till now.

With newly installed High Dose Rate Brachytherapy equipment on ground floor and CT-Simulator unit on the first floor of the block, LHMC will now be able to provide much needed state-of-the-art radiotherapy services to the cancer patients. The modern radiotherapy techniques require accurate information about the tumour as well as surrounding structures during radiation planning for targeting the cancers. The CT-Simulator machine is used for image-based planning of highly conformal radiotherapy treatment which helps in targeting the tumor and sparing the normal structures.

The 20 channel High Dose Rate Brachytherapy system utilising the Iridium-192 radioactive source will be used to provide internal radiation therapy to cancer patients suffering from cervical, uterine, prostate, breast and other cancers. The brachytherapy treatment is very effective at destroying the cancer cells while minimizing damage to surrounding normal tissue.

The newly installed equipment costing approximately 13 crores will be a boon for poor cancer patients, who are not able to afford radiation therapy treatment at private hospitals. There are very few government hospitals with the radiation therapy facility and they have very long waiting times, during which their disease often progresses.

Shortly, a High Energy Linear Accelerator (LINAC) machine for External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT) will also become functional in LHMC’s Radiation Oncology Block for treatment of wider range of cancer patients. The LINAC machine generates high-energy x-rays and electrons in the range of mega voltage energy, or MV, for cancer treatment. The high-energy x-ray beams penetrate deep into the body and spare more superficial tissues, whereas electron beams are more beneficial for superficial lesions and can spare deeper normal structures. X-ray and electron beams of different energies allow the radiation oncologist to customize the treatment based on the shape and location of the tumors. It will be particularly beneficial for patients with Brain tumours, Cancer that has spread to the brain or a recurrence of a brain tumour, Cancer around the head and neck area, Spine, prostate, and lung cancer etc. The LINAC machine whose order has been placed for approx. 22 crores will be shipped from United Kingdom in few weeks.

The External Beam Radiation Therapy treatment on LINAC would complement the internal radiation therapy treatment with HDR Brachytherapy as some cancer sites are treated by external and some by internal radiation therapy and few by both. One example is the cervical cancer, which is one of the commonest cancers in females in our country and generally treated with External Beam Radiation Therapy first and then followed by internal Brachytherapy treatment.