New cancer technique at GRMC should cut radiation treatments for patients
Dr. Arthur Ko
The Guam Regional Medical City radiation oncology team is introducing a new technique to treat cancer using the hospital's advanced linear accelerator. It’s called Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy, SBRT for short. It’s used primarily for treating the early stages of lung cancer, but it can also be used for other types of cancer.
SBRT therapy delivers higher doses of radiation meaning fewer treatment days for the patient. “The patient will be given three to five treatments instead of getting 35 daily treatments,” says GRMC Radiation Oncologist Dr. Arthur Ko.
This new method of providing radiation treatment is available for the first time on Guam. GRMC’s TrueBeam linear accelerator makes it possible because it’s equipped with advanced imaging technologies and radiation delivery capabilities. “Imaging is a very critical component,” says Dr. Ko. “In order to deliver radiation more precisely and accurately we need on-board imaging capability … and this machine has a mini-CT scanner built in.”
“On this machine,” says Dr. Ko, “we can actually see the tumor while the radiation beam is on.”
The technique was pioneered at Indiana University by Dr. Ko’s former colleague, Dr. Bob Timmerman. Dr. Ko served as Chairman of the Radiation Oncology Department at Indiana University’s Health Arnett Hospital before coming to Guam.