PEI acquires $10 million linear accelerator
January 15, 2019
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The P.E.I. Cancer Treatment Centre, located at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, has installed a new, $10 million TrueBeam linear accelerator from Varian Medical Systems. The machine will enable higher precision radiation therapy to be delivered for cancer patients on the Island.
In particular, it will allow for treatment of smaller tumours earlier and will allow clinicians to expand treatment to tumour sites such as the spine, liver and brain.
The P.E.I. Cancer Treatment Centre currently operates two linear accelerators. The new system will replace the original one, which was installed in 2003. The centre’s linear accelerators deliver approximately 9,200 radiation treatments per year.
“We know that the magnitude of cancer burden on the Island is really significant. Approximately 900 Islanders will be diagnosed with cancer every year, and about 400 will die of their disease,” said Dr. Larry Pan (pictured), the head of the provincial radiation oncology service.
“The magnitude and importance of cancer care on the Island is certainly very important. I would say it affects all Islanders from Tignish to Souris.”
Pan said the new linear accelerator will allow patients to receive more precise and better treatment closer to home. “If there’s one thing that a patient wishes for in terms of their radiation treatment, they ask, ‘can their treatment be delivered on the Island?’”
Health Minister Robert Mitchell said a replacement for the other linear accelerator is planned between 2022 and 2023. He said the new units will provide savings to both patients and the healthcare system by reducing the number of patients travelling off-Island for care.
“Radiation oncology has come a long way since the original linear accelerator was installed at the PEI Cancer Treatment Centre over a decade ago. It is important that we continue to provide our patients with the new, modern standards of cancer care,” said PEI Cancer Treatment Centre manager Dawn MacIsaac.
“Cancer treatments are always changing with technology. The new linear accelerator will ensure a stable future for the radiation oncology service on PEI and ensure the hundreds of Islanders who rely on this form of cancer treatment will continue to receive it here at home,” added MacIsaac. Last year, more than 500 Island cancer patients required radiation therapy as part of their cancer treatment plan.