Zimmer Cancer Institute offers new treatment with less radiation exposure

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – The Novant Health Zimmer Cancer Institute now offers a new treatment that reduces radiation exposure for patients with gynecological cancers.

The procedure, interstitial brachytherapy, and some new devices deliver radiation doses to the tumor while reducing radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue.

“We’re able to get better tumor coverage, but we’re really shaping the dose and sparing normal tissue in the area, or more locally advanced cervical cancers when surgery isn’t an option” , said Dr. Tiffany Morgan, radiation oncologist at Novant Health. “We target the tumor and the lymph nodes in the pelvis, we are not able to safely deliver a high enough dose to the cervical tumor itself, without damaging nearby structures. So we follow that up with internal radiation therapy or brachytherapy, where we do an implant that kind of goes directly to the tumor itself. The problem is that when people have large tumors we are not always able to safely cover the entire tumor with the normal type of implant. So now we offer what’s called interstitial brachytherapy, which is really a hybrid approach.

Dr. Morgan says they treat about 20 patients a year, and about 50% of them would benefit from this new brachytherapy procedure.

“So we’re using the applicator that we’ve been using here for decades, but we’re adding catheters which are basically thin plastic flexible tubes, and inserting them directly into the tumor which typically wouldn’t be covered enough by the standard. applicator. So it’s kind of a hybrid approach,” Dr Morgan said. “And in doing so, we’re able to safely deliver an ablative dose to the tumor, but shape the dose safely safety so as not to overexpose normal tissues in the area, such as the bladder and intestine, to a high dose of radiation.”

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