Using Tech to Drive Efficiency in Cancer Therapy

Author: Sikhumbuzo Hlabangane

Source: eHealth news

There’s a growing need for healthcare professionals and the sector to find innovative methods and technology to treat cancer. This is according to Head Oncologist in the Radiotherapy Unit at Life Hilton Private Hospital, Dr Ziad Seedat, who cited South Africa’s growing cancer prevalence rates.

According to the CANSA, more than 100,000 South Africans are diagnosed with cancer every year.

Keeping pace with technology

It is near impossible for a company to operate today without technology, and the reality is that many businesses are still struggling to keep up with the fast pace of technological change and the opportunities technology presents. As technology improves every day, new developments are constantly infiltrating our lives. Whether it’s the way we shop, how we communicate with friends, the jobs we do, or the way we travel, technology is transforming the way we behave. This is particularly apparent in healthcare. Developments in information gathering, research, treatments and communications have given medical providers new tools to work with and fresh ways to practice medicine.

New tools

The technological advances made in radiation therapy over the years have been crucial in the successful treatment of cancer. It is these advances that have brought us the vast improvements in stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) – for treatments throughout the body and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) – for treatments in the brain or central nervous system.

This sophisticated technology is delivered through the Novalis Tx system and more recently the TrueBeam STx system, enabling doctors to use SBRT and SRS treatments to treat difficult-to-reach cancer tumours in versatile, non-invasive and painless procedures.

These systems shape the radiation beam precisely to the patient’s tumours, ensuring that the best possible treatment dose is delivered while healthy tissue is protected. The radiation beam also adapts to the patient’s breathing, other body movements or tumour movements so as to continuously maintain safe, complete and accurate treatment. The unit rotates around the patient to deliver treatment beams anywhere in the body from virtually any angle. All of this has the propensity to increase overall treatment accuracy.

Patients might only need to wear a frameless custom-fit mask to keep their heads in the best possible position for treatment. An inbuilt communications system allows constant interaction between the patient and the technician.

Typically, patients don’t need anaesthesia, and while patient responses vary, most are able to get back to their normal routines a few hours after treatment.

Technological breakthroughs are revolutionising the way healthcare is being delivered, and we are seeing more evidence of this every day. With rapid disruption and continuous innovation in the tech space, we expect many more positive and exciting developments in the industry in the future.