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Technological advancements lead to more effective radiation treatments

Dayton Physicians NetworkThe field of radiation oncology is a high-tech world, where medical science and physics are orchestrated together to provide the best possible outcome for cancer patients. At Dayton Physicians Network, our radiation oncology staff is working to keep all of our clinics equipped with state-of-the-art technology and expertise. The goal is personalized treatments for our patients, making sure that every patient receives the best possible care and is able to maintain his/her quality of life.

Madhup Gupta, MS, DABR is the Director of Medical Physics and Chief Medical Physicist at Dayton Physicians Network. It might seem unusual to have a physicist working in a medical field, but in the world of radiation oncology, his position is vital.

As a medical physicist, board-certified by American Board of Radiology, Mr. Gupta calibrates the linear accelerator, which delivers a radiation dose to a highly specific location.

Dayton Physicians Network“A physicist is in a cancer clinic because of the presence of highly sophisticated radiation-producing machines,” Mr. Gupta explained. “Our main job is to calibrate and quantify the radiation that the physician wants delivered to the patients. We cannot see, hear or feel radiation, however, we use it daily to stop the spread of cancer and kill cancer cells anywhere inside the body.”

Another aspect of the job is radiation safety – a team of seven board-certified medical physicists make sure that all treatments are safe and effective. They ensure that our patients and staff stay safe during the complex high-energy radiation delivery to the tumor.

Some of the newest technology coming to Dayton Physicians Network is called RapidArc® with robotic couch. Compared to Cyberknife® technology, the RapidArc® conforms the radiation to the shape of the tumor and “paints” the radiation with a beam in an arc over the tumor with different entry points around the body. This allows a highly modulated dose delivery precisely concentrated to the tumor location in rapid beam sequence within a minute for a full arc. So, what would take an hour to accomplish with Cyberknife can be done in about ten minutes (including the setup time) with RapidArc®.

That level of precision also requires the patient to be positioned exactly right, and the newer technology has provided a solution to that, as well. The patient is CT imaged (CBCT to view 3D anatomy) just prior to their treatment, and the robotic treatment couch (with 6 degrees of freedom) can position the patient to under one degree or one millimeter. This precision in tumor localization allows for accurate tumor dose delivery while sparing the surrounding normal organs. Radiation doses are planned and calculated by a medical dosimetrist, who is certified by the American Association of Medical Dosimetry.

Dayton Physicians Network is the first in Ohio to receive a third-party accreditation from the American Society of Radiation Oncology for all six radiation clinics in and around Dayton.

During a year-long process, DPN gave access to ASTRO APEx® radiation oncologists and medical physicists to review all procedures and processes, treatment planning and delivery. They looked at everything, from cancer diagnosis and staging, to machine quality control and staff certifications. A team consisting of radiation oncologists and radiation physicists visited our six radiation clinics and interviewed our experts. Accreditation was awarded at the end of 2016 and is good until 2020.

We are also a Certified Member of MD Anderson Cancer Network for Oncology Program. MD Anderson is the nation’s premier cancer treatment and research clinic, based in Houston, Texas. All our radiation and medical oncologists have also received certification by the M.D. Anderson Cancer Network, giving physicians access to the latest cancer care options.

With six outpatient radiation sites, Dayton Physicians Network is making it easier for patients to get the best possible treatment closer to home. “It’s good to have our treatment centers spread out where patients don’t have to drive too far for their treatments,” said Mr. Gupta. “They can get the top-notch cancer care closer to home.”

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact Dayton Physicians Network Radiation Oncology and Imaging at 937-771-2422937-771-2422.

(All images courtesy of Varian Medical Systems, Palo Alto, CA)