Uganda cancer institute receives a new cancer treatment machine

Cancer patients in Uganda, can now be treated quickly than before, as Uganda Cancer

Institute in Kampala installs an advanced new Flexitron Cobalt-60 High Dose Rate brachytherapy system from Elekta.

 “After the staff being trained at the beginning of March, the treatments of the first two patients with Flexitron were completed in only five hours – a significant improvement in treatment time,”

says Elekta application specialist Jeroen Singelenberg. “In addition, the new system enables far more accurate dose distribution, with minimal impact on healthy tissue.”

 Mulago Hospital, is the largest hospital in Uganda. It is site of Uganda’s only Cancer Institute and radiotherapy Department. It had been using an ageing Low Dose Rate caesium after-loader model. This required up to 10-14hours per treatment to deliver 20-30 Gy and meant only one patient per day could be treated.

The new and advanced system has been installed as part of the hospital’s two-year, US$49 million renovation. It will allow oncology staff at the hospital to significantly shorten treatment times and treat more patients. Dr. Kavuma Awusi, a medical physicist at the Uganda cancer institute comments: Said, by the second week after initiation, they were treating an average of 5 cervical patients per day. He added that cervical cancer is the most common cancer, accounting for about 40% of the nearly 2000, new cancer patients seen in their department a year.

 According Dr.Awusi, the new unit will reduce the brachytherapy waiting time and improve both treatment response and survival rates. Brachytherapy, or, internal radiotherapy, is commonly used to treat cervical, bladder, prostate, and breast, and skin cancer.

 Through the temporary or permanent placement of a short range radiation, source close to the tumor inside the body, positioning the radioactive pellet through a technique known as after-loading. After-loading may be done manually by an operator, or remotely, using a controlled delivery treatment plan.

 Flexitron’s advanced remote after- loading platform helps the clinical team work safely, and efficiently, and, ensures accuracy in treatment delivery, reducing the likelihood of human error. Typically brachytherapy is linked with low toxicity rates, and a favorable side effect profile.

 Brachytherapy improves clinical outcomes, this is by combining a boost with external beam radiation therapy, first, second, third fourth and fifth effective as a monotherapy modality. Uganda, a nation of over 40 million people, where cancer rates are on the increase, faster, more accurate treatment modalities are well-thought-out as important factors.

 Though Elekta’s Flexitron brachytherapy system typically uses advanced imaging to assist in treatment planning and dose placement, Uganda Cancer Institute had faced a challenge because it has no suitable imaging systems in place.

 “Due to budget constraints, the hospital currently has no MRI and CT scanners or a working radiotherapy simulator. Without imaging capabilities, there was a risk of delivering incorrect treatment, so our team created a solution using standardized plans for each applicator, which they use in conjunction with their fluoroscopy C-arm, to deliver accurate treatment,”

 says Singelenberg. Elekta’s managing director, Erik Leksell, says, Cancer is becoming a great challenge for Africa and he is pleased that Mulago Hospital has selected our Flexitron brachytherapy solution.

 Radiotherapy, and especially brachytherapy is by far the most cost-effective opportunity and fundamental pillar for both curative and palliative cancer care.

He said as a company, they are committed to support the clinicians at Mulago Hospital to enable them provide the best clinical care going forward.

 Elekta’s Flexitron brachytherapy system with Oncentra Brachy allows for faster, more accurate treatment delivery and dose distribution.

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