PEI

Radiation therapy imaging device top priority for hospital fundraiser

A new CT simulator has been identified as the most urgent need as P.E.I.'s QEH Foundation launches its annual fundraising campaign.

'Without this equipment and technology, radiation treatment is not possible'

Chelsea Soga, radiation therapy supervisor at the P.E.I. Cancer Treatment Centre, says a new CT simulator would allow for more precise treatment plans. (Shane Hennessy/CBC)

A new CT simulator has been identified as the most urgent need as P.E.I.'s Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation launches its annual fundraising Friends for Life campaign on Thursday.

The simulator combines a CT scanner with sophisticated imaging technology to allow doctors to apply pinpoint radiation therapy.

"It's the first place, once a patient decides to go ahead with radiation treatment, that they visit,"said Chelsea Soga, radiation therapy supervisor at the P.E.I. Cancer Treatment Centre in the QEH.

"This is where we do the set up for the patient to determine the position they'll be in for treatment."

The new machine will also have a larger opening then the current simulator.

Soga says the CT simulator is a vital part of the P.E.I. Cancer Treatment Centre. (Shane Hennessy/CBC)

"It gives us a little bit more area that we can scan," said Soga. "It will help to make it a little bit easier for the positions that we need patients to be in because we do sometimes need them in a unique position so it gives us a little more space for that."

The estimated cost for the new CT simulator is $1.5 million.

'Exact location'

The QEH Auxiliary president Dorothy Johnston presented the organization's gift of $100,000 to help start the fundraising campaign.

Dr. Colin Brown, a radiation oncologist at the QEH, says an upgraded CT simulator would allow them to take more accurate images. (Shane Hennessy/CBC)

The current CT simulator was purchased with a foundation donation a decade ago and is due to be replaced with a more modern device.

"The new CT simulator will produce even higher-quality images to allow health-care professionals to identify the exact location, shape and size of the tumour to be treated — without this equipment and technology, radiation treatment is not possible," said Dr. Larry Pan, QEH radiation oncologist and head of the provincial radiation oncology service.

Officials say the current CT simulator is now past its life expectancy. (Shane Hennessy/CBC)

The new CT simulator would allow more precise treatments with more flexibility for the patients.

"The way radiation therapy is delivered now, we try and be as accurate as possible based on these CT scan images and also all the previous diagnostic scans that the patients have had before even coming to see us," said Dr. Colin Brown, a radiation oncologist at the QEH.

"So we get the images that we need to be able to map out where we are treating, but it also allows us to position them as they will be each day on the treatment units and make the immobilization devices that we need to keep them extremely still during the treatments as well."

The estimated cost for the new CT simulator is $1.5 million. Other priority medical equipment needs identified as part of the fundraising campaign include $455,000 for endoscopy and $252,000 for the provincial lab.

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