Wilkes-Barre doctors using new technique to shorten time for cancer treatment

Doctors using new technique that shortens time for cancer treatment

A Linear Accelerator is a device commonly used to deliver radiation to cancer patients. At the Commonwealth Health Cancer Center in Wilkes-Barre, doctors and technicians are using the latest model to manage treatments in the shortest period of time.

For Danielle Carro of Berwick, the diagnosis of breast cancer after a routine mammogram came as a shock. After the shock came surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

Danielle received radiation here at the Commonwealth Health Cancer Center from a state-of-the-art Linear Accelerator.

“It was terrifying but the girls made the whole process more bearable, the people are so nice…it’s weird to say but I enjoyed seeing them every day,” said breast cancer survivor Danielle Carro.

Every day, five days a week for almost six weeks.

Better radiation technology and techniques as simple as holding your breath for 20 seconds at a time during treatment are being used to deliver the radiation more accurately, faster and safer.

“Traditionally, the treatment only took a couple of minutes but our ability to deliver the treatment is three to seven times faster using the ‘breath hold’ method for twenty seconds,” said Dr. David Horvick who is a radiation oncologist with Commonwealth Health.

The machine uses 3-D optical imaging, almost like facial recognition, to ensure the radiation is working on the breast tissue and not damaging underlying tissue especially around the heart.

The Breath Hold technique is not necessary for every breast cancer patient, depending on the location of the original tumor.

The Commonwealth Health Cancer Center uses the linear accelerator to treat approximately 20 to 25 patients each day.

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