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Lady Hardinge Hospital launches radiation therapy facility

In a significant milestone in the field of providing advanced cancer care in public health setup in India, Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC) administered its inaugural radiation therapy treatment to a cancer patient on April 9, 2024, marking a pivotal moment in the institution’s history. Utilizing state-of-the-art Brachytherapy equipment within its newly constructed Radiation Oncology Block, this event heralds a new era in cancer care at LHMC.

Previously recognized for its outpatient department (OPD) and chemotherapy services catering to cancer patients, the addition of sophisticated High Dose Rate Brachytherapy equipment on the ground floor, alongside a CT-Simulator unit on the first floor, fortifies LHMC’s capacity to deliver cutting-edge radiotherapy services.

Modern radiotherapy techniques demand precision in targeting tumours while minimizing collateral damage to surrounding tissues. The integration of a CT-Simulator machine facilitates image-based planning for highly conformal radiotherapy treatment, enabling precise tumour targeting and sparing of normal structures.

The High Dose Rate Brachytherapy system, boasting 20 channels and leveraging the Iridium-192 radioactive source, offers internal radiation therapy for various cancers including cervical, uterine, prostate, breast, and others. This modality is lauded for its efficacy in annihilating cancer cells while preserving adjacent healthy tissue.

The acquisition of these advanced facilities, amounting to an investment of approximately 13 crores, promises accessibility to cutting-edge treatment for economically disadvantaged cancer patients who previously faced barriers to radiation therapy at private hospitals. With government hospitals often plagued by lengthy waiting times, during which diseases progress unchecked, LHMC’s enhanced capabilities represent a beacon of hope for those in need.

Looking ahead, LHMC anticipates the imminent activation of a High Energy Linear Accelerator (LINAC) machine within its Radiation Oncology Block. This technology, slated to arrive from the United Kingdom, will expand treatment options for a broader spectrum of cancer patients, particularly benefiting those with brain tumors, and cancers affecting the head and neck, spine, prostate, lung, and more.

The synergy between External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT) delivered by the LINAC machine and internal radiation therapy via HDR Brachytherapy underscores LHMC’s holistic approach to cancer treatment. For instance, cervical cancer, among the most prevalent malignancies in females, typically necessitates a combination of external and internal radiation therapy.

Brachytherapy emerges as a versatile solution for various cancers affecting different organs, with tailored applicators facilitating precise radiation dose distribution. From oral and vaginal cavity tumours to those in the prostate, soft tissue, oesophagus, and bronchus, brachytherapy offers targeted intervention with minimal invasiveness.

Moreover, brachytherapy presents compelling alternatives in scenarios where patients seek to retain organ function or face limitations in undergoing surgery. For instance, in selected cases of early breast cancer, brachytherapy implants or balloon catheters provide expedited treatment with outcomes comparable to traditional external beam radiation.

Despite its efficacy, brachytherapy necessitates careful consideration of patient comfort and post-procedural care, often involving inpatient management and multiple treatment sessions spanning several days. However, advancements in technique and technology, such as the use of specialized applicators and high-dose rate remote afterloader machines, mitigate potential complications and streamline treatment delivery.

In certain instances, brachytherapy proves remarkably convenient, with outpatient procedures requiring minimal sedation and pain management. Applications like vaginal, oesophagal, and bronchial luminal brachytherapy exemplify this approach, offering targeted treatment without the need for anaesthesia.

Notably, brachytherapy demonstrates remarkable efficacy in select cases of early skin cancer, showcasing its adaptability and patient-centric approach to treatment delivery.

As LHMC continues to pioneer advancements in cancer care, the integration of cutting-edge technologies and personalized treatment approaches underscores its commitment to combating this formidable disease and improving patient outcomes. Drug Today Medical Times

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