The Icon Cancer Centre in Mulgrave has been providing the latest in radiation therapy for just over one year to the local community, and is now the first private provider in Australia to introduce a new technology – AlignRT that delivers pinpoint precise radiation treatment without the need to have permanent tattoo marks.
Traditional radiation therapy for breast cancer requires patients to receive very small but permanent tattoos on their chest. These tattoos help the radiation therapist position the patient correctly and deliver treatment to the right location. This technology uses safe, non-invasive light emitted from specialised camera units to track and motor patients during set-up and treatment, eliminating the need to mark the body.
Local resident, 63-year-old, Sharyn Mackey was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2018 after a routine mammogram and biopsy. She went on to receive surgery and was then recommended radiation therapy treatment. Sharyn is one of the first patients to receive this tattoo-free treatment, referred to as Surface-Guided Radiation Therapy (SGRT).
Having only recently moved to Melbourne from Perth last year, Sharyn was new to the area, and was relieved to know she could receive all her care locally at the Icon Centre only a five minute drive to and from home. Not knowing much about radiation therapy treatment, she says it was a little daunting at first.
“I’d seen photos of the machine, and it was intimidating but after a couple of times it became routine. The staff line you up and you get know the noises and the movement of the machine and knowing it provides that pinpoint precision was a comfort,” Sharyn said.