WRMC Cancer Care Center Completes Upgrade

The new Varian TrueBeam Linear Accelerator is up and running at the White River Medical Center (WRMC) Cancer Care Center. The linear accelerator is the machine that delivers radiation during cancer treatment.  It is most often used in treatment of head and neck, breast, lung and prostate cancer. 

Radiation Therapy Machine

The state-of-the-art TrueBeam Linear Accelerator is the centerpiece of a $3M upgrade that also includes upgrades to computers and software used for treatment planning.  It offers many advantages to cancer patients; the most important, perhaps, being precision. A major aspect of the machine is the image guided radiotherapy, which provides Radiation Therapists and Oncologists with a detailed digital image that allows them to pinpoint the exact location of the area being treated. The new equipment also allows the treatment team more control over the shape of the radiation beam and the dose of radiation delivered to the affected area.

“The linear accelerator captures images in a way that we weren’t able to do before,” said John Allgood, MD, WRMC Cancer Care Center Radiation Oncologist. “We can make changes in position in increments as small as a millimeter (3/64”) for some patients.”

This precision provides more effective treatment to the targeted area, while avoiding the healthy tissues that surround it. Along with the installation of the new equipment came a complete remodel for the Radiation Therapy Suite.

“The linear accelerator is large, and can be very intimidating. The suite has been remodeled to make a more calming, relaxing atmosphere,” said Jami Smotherman, Tumor Registrar at the WRMC Cancer Care Center. “We even have the capability to connect our patients’ iphones or ipods to a speaker so they can listen to their favorite music while they are getting treatment.” 

Nina Allen of Tuckerman was the first patient to use the TrueBeam Linear Accelerator. She admits that she appreciates the fact that it doesn’t affect the way she feels at all. “I’ve had a few treatments now in the new machine, and each time I feel the same coming out as I did going in. It’s very comfortable and quick,” she says. “I come to Batesville for everything health-related, so it’s nice to be able to get this kind of treatment here.”  

An Open House will be held on Monday, May 5, from 5pm-6pm. The Open House will be at the WRMC Cancer Care Center, which is located across from the WRMC Emergency Room. Everyone is invited to attend.