Regina’s Allan Blair Cancer Centre is now using the TrueBeam linear accelerator, a new state-of-the-art, high-radiation therapy machine, which could speed up the treatment process for cancer patients across the province.
According to Dr. Jon Tonita, Saskatchewan Cancer Agency interim president and CEO, due to the machine’s higher radiation, it’s able to deliver quicker and more precise doses of radiation, allowing for quicker treatments.
He said the biggest advantage is the machine’s ability to focus more on cancer cells and less on the normal ones during radiation.
It will also open the door to new possibilities for those with cancer in the lung, breast, prostate and spinal regions, he added.
Machines like this are replaced around the province every eight to 10 years, and — due to its high radiation levels — the TrueBeam linear accelerator sits in a room with three metre-thick walls.
The province has also approved $3.8 million for the same machine to be brought to Saskatoon.
Greg Ottenbreit, Minister Responsible for Rural and Remote Health, was at Pasqua Hospital on Friday for the official unveiling of the machine.
Earlier this year, Ottenbreit was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and has been going through radiation treatments himself.
He said he knows first-hand how investments like this can benefit cancer patients in Saskatchewan.
“We know that new equipment and investments and improvements is very much paramount in providing the top-quality care for our cancer patients and people within the province,” Ottenbreit said.
He was also quick to point out that, during his treatments, he has had nothing but positive experiences and wanted to thank the staff publicly.
During the 2015-16 year, more than 35,000 radiotherapy sessions were conducted in Saskatchewan.