Behind the main entrance of the Hospital of Central Connecticut (HoCC) you will find a building on its own that uses the newest radio therapy technology to destroy cancer and non cancerous cells.
The American Savings Foundation Radiation Oncology Treatment Center offers the advanced technology using comfortable exam rooms and high tech equipment while offering patients convenient pick-up and drop-off areas and plenty of free parking.
HoCC has offered radiation therapy for many years, but the new building began in 2005.
About 7200 radiation treatments are performed each year, according to Ann Allen, radiation therapy manager.
“We treat cancer and some non-cancers with radiation,” said Allen. “Some people come for 1 day, some people come for 5 days and some for 20 days.”
Radiation therapy uses ionizing radiation to cause a change in tissue that gets rid of cancer or other problems.
The Hospital of Central Connecticut’s Radiation Oncology staff includes board-certified radiation oncologists, therapists registered by The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, registered nurses, physicists, administrative staff, a radiation safety officer and social worker.
“We treat the head, kidneys, spine, liver, lungs and prostate,” said Allen.
One of the most advanced technology consists of a Novalis® shaped-beam surgery system. It is the most advanced available system to treat brain tumors and tumors and lesions near the spinal cord and in other areas of the body. With Novalis, there are no incisions, pain or blood loss, and none of the side effects sometimes associated with standard radiation therapy.
“We do a lot of radio surgery for early stage lung cancer and certain types of brain surgery,” said Dr. Neal Goldberg, director or radiation oncology. “It is a way to treat early stage cancers without cutting them.”
Novalis performs non-invasive stereotactic radiosurgery – a treatment form that uses highly focused radiation to pinpoint the exact size and shape of a tumor and minimize damage to healthy, surrounding tissue.
“It really targets the most problematic areas,” said Nancy Martin, senior public relations specialist at HoCC. “It really is a good thing.”
HoCC was the first in the state to acquire Novalis in 2007.
The Novalis is very localized and the cure rate is the same as those with surgery except there is no recovery time and very limited side effects.
“It goes directly to the part we want to treat,” said Allen. “We can center right over the area and not treat the whole body. We treat the exact spot. It only has an opening about 9 by 9 inches. Some things we treat are only 4 millimeters wide. It allows us to treat small brain tumors.”
“With the Novalis we do respiratory gating where the accuracy of the radio surgery is increased because we track the patient breathing in real time and modulate the beam to conform to their actual breathing pattern,” said Goldberg. “Nobody else is doing that. That means they treat a bigger area than we treat.”
That is used for lung patients only.
The center also used a High Dose Rate (HDR) unit that allows it to go inside a patient to deliver radiation.
“It is used for breast cancer and GYN cancers,” said Goldberg.
For more information on the center, log on to http://thocc.org/services/cancer/radiation.aspx.