Cutting-edge treatment helping patients in the fight against cervical cancer
In a Victorian-first, cervical cancer patients at Austin Health's Olivia Newton-John (ONJ) Cancer Wellness and Research Centre are benefitting from a new treatment which allows radiation therapy to be administered at higher dosage while minimising damage to surrounding organs.
Austin Health Radiation Oncologist Dr Adeline Lim says the introduction of the state-of-the-art Venezia applicator will have enormous benefits for patients with advanced stage cervical cancer.
"It means that even large tumours can be targeted effectively with a very high dose of radiation, hence increasing the chance of cure," Dr Lim says.
"Not only does it enable a higher dose to be delivered to the cancer but it also allows us to reduce the dose delivered to normal organs, such as the bladder. This not only means a higher chance of tumour control but also a reduced risk of long-term side effects and an improved quality-of-life,'' Dr Lim explains.
Dr Lim says chemo-radiation is the standard line of treatment for locally advanced cervical cancer and the radiation component is a combination of external beam radiation therapy followed by a high dose of brachytherapy.
Brachytherapy is a form of radiotherapy which is delivered internally. It allows the cancer to be treated to a very high dose whilst enabling normal organs to receive a much lower dose compared to external beam radiotherapy - this increases the chance of cure and reduces the risk of side effects.
"The Venezia applicator is the latest gynaecological brachytherapy applicator on the market and Austin Health's ONJ Centre is the first site in the state to invest in this state-of-the-art equipment. We are very excited to be able to offer this service to Victorian patients" Dr Lim says.
Approximately 180 Victorian women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year.
To donate to the ONJ Centre visit http://www.onjcancercentre.org/donate