RBWH Advanced Radiation Therapist Kate Stewart is the lead radiation therapist who delivers treatment on the new system to patients.

RBWH welcomes Australia-first radiation technology

An Australia-first state-of-the-art radiation treatment system has now commenced service at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) and is allowing clinicians to provide more accurate, higher dosage radiation treatment to patients.

The system is a combination of two existing systems, the Varian Edge Linear Accelerator and the Brainlab Exactrac Dynamic Image Guidance System.

This system provides the ability to deliver extremely precise radiation treatments to small targets in high doses, over a shorter number of treatment visits. It also allows real-time x-ray and thermal skin surface tracking to ensure the treatment delivery is as precise at the end of the dose delivery as at the beginning.

The treatment will benefit a wide range of patient requirements, from more standard procedures through to more specialised techniques.

RBWH expects to deliver this highly specialised treatment to more than 100 patients per year, with a further 300 patients receiving routine radiation therapy on the same unit, providing Queenslanders with access to world-class healthcare in the heart of Brisbane.

Metro North Health Executive Director Cancer Care Associate Professor Dr Glen Kennedy said due to the efficiency of the new technology, patients undergoing treatment will be able to spend less time in hospital and more time living their normal lives.

“With previous technologies, patients were required to spend much longer receiving treatment in hospital due to the limitations of the systems available,” Associate Professor Dr. Kennedy said.

“With the new system, we have an improved ability to verify and monitor the patient, and are also able to offer more of these treatments that were not available previously due to time constraints.

“We are incredibly excited to now be offering this Australia-first technology at RBWH.”

RBWH Advanced Radiation Therapist Kate Stewart is the lead radiation therapist who delivers treatment on the new system to patients.

“The fact that we’re able to offer this cutting-edge technology in a public health setting to anyone who needs it is fantastic,” Ms Stewart said.

“The technology allows safer treatment for patients by only exposing them to radiation in the precise area they need it, rather than previous technology which required us to treat a larger area. This is especially beneficial for return-patients who are requiring more treatment as they are living longer than ever before.”

“It will also allow us to move into treating conditions that we previously haven’t been able to treat, opening up a wide variety of possibilities to improve the health of Queenslanders in the long term.”

Brisbane resident Nicholas Shotton has been receiving healthcare for renal cancer at RBWH since 2015 and has recently commenced treatment on the Varian Edge with Brainlab Exactrac Dynamic system.

“Going through the cancer treatment journey can be a very stressful and worrying time, so having the knowledge that you are being treated on a state-of-the-art machine helps alleviate some of this concern,” Mr Shotton said.

“The new technology is a lot more comfortable as it allows for some movement during treatment, therefore I don’t need to stay completely still for long periods of time.

“Since the treatment time is much quicker than before, I don’t need to take as much leave from work as I previously did, which is a big financial benefit and allows me to spend more time with loved ones.”

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