An integral part of the Segal Cancer Centre, Radiation Oncology is a state-of-the-art facility that specializes in radiotherapy – one of the most important and frequently used methods of cancer treatment along with surgery and chemotherapy.
Radiotherapy uses high-energy radiation from a linear accelerator (linac) or other specialized machine to kill cancer cells. The treatment objective is to target a specific cancerous tumour, while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Most common cancer types can be treated with radiotherapy in some way. It is used to remove tumours that are diagnosed at an early stage, prevent or decrease the chance of cancer coming back and control certain types of cancer that cannot be completely removed. It is also effective in alleviating symptoms and improving quality of life of patients with advanced cancer. It is often combined with chemotherapy. Even more importantly, advanced radiotherapy techniques provide an additional treatment option for many patients diagnosed with previously inoperable or surgically complex tumours, and those patients who have previously been exposed to the maximum allowable dose of radiation.In all, about 50 per cent of all people with cancer will be treated with and benefit from radiation therapy.
Radiation Oncology is a modern, forward-thinking division with over 50 highly skilled cancer care professionals working as a multidisciplinary team to provide the most advanced care to patients. The Division also conducts extensive research in cooperation with other hospital departments and McGill University, and is involved in many national and international clinical research protocols, aimed at optimizing or developing new treatment and imaging modalities and techniques.
Timely access to radiotherapy is especially critical at the JGH, owing to the large number of cancer patients referred to and treated at the Segal Cancer Centre. The Division already has the highest volume of patients for a three-linac facility in Canada, treating 200 patients more per year per linac than the Canadian average. The growing incidence of cancer in our expanding and aging population is putting increased pressure on the Division, resulting in longer waiting lists and undue delays for patients who need radiotherapy or combined radiotherapy-chemotherapy.
“The acquisition of the most technologically advanced linear accelerator available today will increase our treating capacity, allowing us to provide faster and more efficient treatments, treat more patients and types of cancer, and offer new innovative treatments in radiation oncology.”
– Dr. Te Vuong, Chief, Division of Radiation Oncology
The JGH is currently in the process of replacing one of its three linacs. However, simply replacing it with a similar basic model will not provide a sustainable solution to the challenges faced by the Division. Modern radiation therapy has made huge technological advances in the past years. The most advanced linac models available on the market today offer greater speed and precision, enhanced patient safety and comfort as well as new imaging and treatment capabilities that altogether allow for faster and more efficient treatments, improved treatment capacity and delivery workflow, as well as new possibilities for the treatment of challenging cases such as cancers in the lung, breast, abdomen, head and neck, and others. The acquisition of the most advanced radiotherapy technology in the world will provide the Division with the means to meet the growing demand for its services and make a leap forward in treatment techniques for our cancer patients.
The Division of Radiation Oncology
Purchase and installation of state-of-the-art linear accelerator
Bunker conversion to accommodate new linear accelerator