As the incidence of cancer continues to rise each year, medical professionals have been working to find ways to prevent and treat the dreaded disease.
Research and development in oncology have paved ways to provide better treatment options for cancer patients. One of these medical breakthroughs is TomoTherapy.
The TomoTherapy system is an Image-Guided, Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IG-IMRT) machine with an on-board CT (computed tomography) scanner that delivers precise doses of radiation to the exact position and shape of tumors. This system allows a more effective treatment because of its ability to give a higher radiation dose, accurately and with less side effects.
Through its premier Cancer Care Center and Radiology Department, the Makati Medical Center takes a step forward by acquiring a second TomoTherapy system so more patients can avail of this groundbreaking cancer treatment.
MakatiMed recommends TomoTherapy as it is an advanced evolution of the treatment arsenal for cancer patients.
“TomoTherapy is basically a hybrid of a conventional Intensity-Modulation Radiation Therapy (IMRT) Machine, and a CT scan,” says Dennis Doromol, MD, section head of Radiation Oncology. Compared to conventional IMRT machines, which treat the target on a flat field in angles, TomoTherapy cuts the target into smaller slices and treats each slice in a spiral manner producing a more defined, similar dose to the target. “With its helical technique treatment, it reduces radiation exposure of the normal tissues and concentrates a higher dose to the target tumor, which all lead to a more effective treatment while minimizing side effects at the same time.”
Patients who undergo TomoTherapy receive the treatment daily for 10 to 15 minutes per session. Frequency varies per case or condition and upon the recommendation of the oncologist. Most cancers require an average of 25 to 35 sessions depending on the case.
“It is effective for most kinds of cancer of all ages. It is a fairly quick and non-invasive procedure where most of our patients are treated on an out-patient basis; some even get to go to work after the treatment,” Dr. Doromal says.
Because of its design, TomoTherapy can also treat tumors simultaneously with a single set-up. This is particularly helpful on cases that require large treatment areas like cranium and spinal column for pediatric cancers. It is also ideal in head and neck and cancers of the pelvic area like rectal and gynecologic cancers where there are lots of critical structures to avoid.
In MakatiMed, cancer treatments often begin with a multi-disciplinary conference. A team of doctors from different specialties involved with the case discuss and map out the best treatment plan for the patient.
“We try to benchmark our treatment plan with the latest evidence-based standards of care accepted by the international medical community. We discuss each case with all the other specialties involved, such as medical oncology, surgical oncology, pain management, and nursing care, etc and involve the patient and their family with the decision making in our plans” Dr. Doromal says.
MakatiMed’s Cancer Center’s approach is mainly based on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines, which contain research-supported recommendations from cancer centers around the world that are then adapted to meet their patient’s particular needs and condition.
The Cancer Center boasts of world-class treatment and support facilities such as the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, Adult and Pediatric Ambulatory Infusion Units, Pharmacy, research and conference rooms for multi-disciplinary meetings, and consultation rooms. MakatiMed also takes pride in its medical experts who come from various clinical disciplines with years of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
As cancer remains a serious health concern in the country, MakatiMed continues its efforts to provide a complete and compassionate approach to fighting the Big C.