TrueBeam Linear Accelerator: Advanced Radiation Technology

Cancer treatment has advanced greatly over the past few decades. Riverside Healthcare is invested in bringing the latest technology to the community, such as the TrueBeam Linear Accelerator—a radiation therapy option that delivers a number of benefits.

Issra Rashed, MD

Dr. Isrra Rashed, radiation oncologist at the Riverside Cancer Institute, provides more information about this technology and why it is so effective.

Key Benefits of TrueBeam Technology

TrueBeam technology offers the ability to monitor radiation treatment, and tumor motion, in real time. Radiation oncologists get a clear view of the tumor and surrounding organs, which helps protect nearby organs. It also makes the treatment more effective, elicits fewer side effects, and reduces complication rates.

“We have an older TrueBeam still here, and this continues to be used very often in the practice. There’s a need for it. It’s actually advantageous in certain situations,” states Dr. Rashed. “But, the new TrueBeam adds to that. And it also allows us to treat using the same kind of radiation, but with added technology that enhances how we deliver it.”

Additional accessories with the new TrueBeam help to better individualize each person’s radiation plan to their unique anatomy and cancer needs. For example, the ability to monitor surface anatomy. If the patient coughs, sneezes, or takes a big breath, radiation oncologists can pause delivery of radiation until those events have passed.

Another benefit is to use the “breath hold” approach. Often in lung cancer radiation treatment, any movement of the lungs due to normal breathing can adjust tumor location. By having patients hold their breath for moments at a time reduces the radiation volume towards healthy lung tissue.

Double the Treatment Area, in a Single Moment

The new TrueBeam Linear Accelerator has the capacity to treat double the area at a single moment, in comparison to the older model. Previously, the technology could only treat 20 centimeters at one time, and that would have to be done sequentially. With the new model, treatment time is cut in half.

“This is really important, because laying on the table for a long time, believe it or not, it’s actually really hard. It’s different than sleeping and kind of passing out. It’s really hard when you tell somebody to hold still, not to have an itch, not to cough, not to sneeze. If they have a bad shoulder or something like that, a bad back, it can be really hard,” notes Dr. Rashed. “I think it’s really important to do anything we can do to speed up the process.”

Protecting Healthy Tissue

Sometimes, cancers are in complex areas to treat. A cancer might need a certain dose of radiation to treat it effectively, but is sitting on or close to another organ that could be damaged by such doses. The newer TrueBeam allows to better individualize the treatment and shape the beam to treat the tumor while still protecting healthy tissue.

This is also a good option for athletes, especially young breast patients. “It helps us to really protect them because their lungs, their hearts. In a lot of these younger patients, they do very well. They’re cancer-free. And the question is always, at what cost? By protecting their heart better, protecting their lungs better. I think the cost goes down significantly,” shares Dr. Rashed.

TrueBeam: Changing the Cancer Treatment Game

Riverside is proud to be able to offer the latest advancements in cancer treatment. Being able to better control how radiation is delivered has changed cancer treatment over the last few decades. The side effects and complications that oncologists used to witness decades ago have greatly diminished.

“Sometimes, problems from treatment used to stand in the way of actually being able to treat a patient, because the risk of having a severe problem was so high, it just far outweighed any benefit you would see from treating the cancer. Now, we just improve access, we improve the ability to actually treat cancers without having to worry about some of these really bad detrimental effects,” assures Dr. Rashed.

Learn more about the Riverside Cancer Institute here.