Cancer patients were among the groups most vulnerable to COVID-19. Because of their condition and the effects of their treatments, cancer patients have an increased risk of contracting the virus and developing severe symptoms of the infection.
For many, this fear of COVID-19 has put cancer treatment on the back burner. Fortunately, the Cardinal Santos Medical Center (CSMC) Cancer Center recognizes the importance of balancing the criticalities of COVID-19 and cancer treatment.
Dr. John Mark Carabeo, Radiation Oncologist and Cardinal Santos Training Officer and Deputy Head of Radiation Oncology Section, Shares New Hospital Acquired Machine That Enables him to Raise the Level of Cancer Treatment Offered to patients.
The new machine – the Vital Beam linear accelerator – has improved cancer treatment and made it easier despite the pandemic, Dr Carabeo said.
“The Vital Beam offers different radiotherapy techniques that we could not offer before, such as stereotaxic radiotherapy, image guided radiotherapy and volumetric arc radiotherapy. “
With all of the advanced techniques offered by the new Vital Beam machine, the MHCC is now able to effectively deliver higher doses of radiation to patients without compromising the organs surrounding the target area during radiation therapy.
Respiratory synchronization, for example, is a technique used on smaller tumors located in moving organs such as the lungs. It allows oncologists to study the patient’s breathing or breathing pattern and deliver the dose of radiation to a specific respiratory phase of the patient so that only the tumor receives a high dose of radiation.
This technique decreases potentially harmful toxicities for the patient by sparing normal tissues that are not defined as targets, explained Dr. Carabeo.
However, receiving radiation therapy is a cancer treatment option that requires expert evaluation of a number of factors such as the type of cancer, as well as the general health and strength of the patient.
“Determining the suitability of a patient receiving radiation therapy usually requires a multidisciplinary team effort, during which we discuss our cases and see if a patient will benefit from radiation therapy based on clinical guidelines, standard practice, ‘patient performance status and treatment goals,’ said Dr Carabeo, adding that the number of sessions the patient will need for radiation therapy will also depend on the tumor histology, medical condition and the intention of the treatment.
The diagnosis of cancer and the stigma that it is a terminal illness will always bring anxiety to patients, but it is important, when in doubt, to seek appropriate medical advice from experts in order to increase the chances of beating cancer.
With the new knowledge that oncologists at Cardinal Santos Medical Center have acquired through extensive clinical trials and studies, new drugs, advances in technology and the team’s growing experience in cancer management, the future cancer treatment will only get better.
For more information on radiotherapy and new radiotherapy techniques offered by the MHCC, please visit https://cardinalsantos.com.ph/. The CMHC is also on Facebook, like and follow them on www.facebook.com/CardinalSantos.