Parkview Radiation Oncology

The Edge Linear Accelerator at Parkview Comprehensive Cancer Center: Accurate and Aggressive Cancer Treatment

The Varian Edge Linear Accelerator is found at many of the top cancer treatment centers across the country, and soon it will be located right here in Pueblo. Parkview Health System is investing in this state-of-the-art technology to offer patients with cancer the most accurate radiation delivery device on the market.

“This will be the first Edge in Southern Colorado, and it will be configured to treat every type of cancer and every patient whose care plan includes radiation therapy – from the most common cancers to the most advanced treatments,” says Suraj Singh, MD, DABR, Medical Director of Radiation Oncology at the Parkview Comprehensive Cancer Center. “We will be offering world class cancer treatments close to home for patients in Southern Colorado.”

Radiation therapy is one of the most common options for cancer treatments. It uses high-energy particles or waves, such as X-rays, gamma rays, electron beams, or protons, to destroy or damage cancer cells. Depending on a patient’s treatment plan, radiation treatments can be just a few days, or for some cancers, daily treatments over a span of several weeks.

Stereotactic radiosurgery, which the Edge provides, enhances the radiation therapy options and makes them available to more patients. Radiosurgery is a type of external radiation therapy that gives a large dose of radiation to a hard-to-reach tumor. It delivers accurate and aggressive cancer treatments to tumors of the lung, prostate, brain, spine, and other areas of the body – pinpointing tumors with the highest dose rate available for faster treatment times.

“This new technology will be a huge win for patients who need daily treatments over multiple weeks,” says Dr. Singh. “They’ll notice much shorter treatment times, allowing them to spend less time away from work and more time in their normal daily activities. In some cases, we can cut the total treatment time by more than half.”

The high doses are possible because the Edge is coupled with real-time, high-quality imaging to target the tumor location and protect the surrounding healthy tissues. And during treatment, advanced cameras monitor thousands of points on the skin to track a patient’s natural movements, like breathing. If the patient’s treatment area moves outside an acceptable tolerance, by even a millimeter, the radiation dosage is paused until the patient is back in an optimal position.

This motion monitoring (IDENTIFY) is particularly beneficial for breast cancer treatment. Because the beam stops with motion outside tolerance, it protects against radiation exposure to the nearby heart.

“Our patients will be treated with greater confidence due to the high precision and accuracy of this machine. Our team is proud to soon offer this cutting-edge technology to the Southern Colorado Community,” said Shelley Adams, RN, RTT, Director of Radiation Oncology at Parkview.

The Edge also comes equipped with Hyperarc technology, which is an optimized, automated way to treat Stereotactic Radiosurgery. HyperArc enhances Parkview’s radiosurgery program by facilitating and simplifying delivery of complex radiosurgery treatments. Using HyperArc, clinicians are delivering non-coplanar SRS treatments within the 15-20-minute time slot normally allocated for conventional radiotherapy treatments.

HyperArc treatments are planned using the latest version of the Eclipse™ treatment planning system. It capitalizes on the unique capabilities of Varian's TrueBeam® and Edge™ platform, and utilizes a simple “one-click” workflow that automates the process, including optional intrafraction imaging and couch rotations.

“The triple threat of the Edge paired with Hyperarc and Varian's IDENTIFY guidance system will enable us to treat all of our patients efficiently, safely and with submillimeter accuracy,” explains Nicole Bunda-Randall, Chief Physicist at Parkview Radiation Oncology.

Radiation therapy is used alone or in combination with other therapies, such as chemotherapy, biological therapy or surgery. Parkview Comprehensive Cancer Center offers all of these treatments and services, along with a full complement of support and wellness programs, from nutrition and social workers to financial and genetic counselors.