Cutting edge technology

The SBA Cancer Center continues to invest in the latest technology to treat cancer patients. With funding from the Ramon Criss Memorial through the Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital Foundation, the Cancer Center recently purchased a 3D printer and the software to aid in radiation therapy.
“We are excited to have this new technology at the Cancer Center,” said Jamie Richards, M.S. RT(R)(T), SBA Radiation Oncology Manager. “We offer state-of-the-art technology to our patients and this continues that tradition. The 3D printer will allow us to continue to improve the treatment of cancer.”
The printer is used to create a bolus, which is a material with properties equivalent to tissue when irradiated. It is placed on the patient’s skin during treatment and can fill in missing tissues or decrease air gaps within the treatment area.
“There are radiation plans where the beams go deeper than the area we want to treat,” explained Craig Keller, SBA Radiation Therapist. “This reduces the depth of the dose.”
In the past, the Cancer Center has used a generic product that worked fine on skin that was a flat surface but not if there were curves, which created gaps. With the 3D printer, they are able to take a patient’s CT scan and create a custom bolus that fits the area being treated.
It will improve the accuracy of the dose, while decreasing damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
“This lets the treatment be closer to what we want,” Keller said.
Keller said the percentage of patients who need this technology will be higher at SBA because the Cancer Center sees a lot of breast cancer patients, as well as some neck cancer patients, and both of those treatments more often require this new process.
SBA is the first hospital in this area to implement this technology.
“The Cancer Center is an important part of SBA and the Foundation is pleased to be able to contribute in the continued improvements in technology and treatment they offer their patients,” said Chase Locke, Foundation Executive Director. “The 3D printer is just one example of the cutting edge technology the Cancer Center has available for cancer patients.”