Icon Cancer Centre Maroochydore is now delivering stereotactic radiation therapy (SRT) treatment, an advanced technique used to treat, small well-defined brain and lung tumours, including tumours that have spread from a primary cancer. The centre is the first oncology care provider on the Sunshine Coast to offer this precision treatment technique, now eliminating the need for cancer patients in the region to travel long distances in to metropolitan Brisbane.
Gympie cancer patient, 73-year-old, Pam Friske was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2001. Having caught the tumour quite early, Pam was able to have surgery to remove the tumour with no further treatment. Since then, Pam has had regular x-rays and CT scans to monitor any changes. This year, after her scans found the nodules in her lungs had changed, a PET-CT scan found she had two small cancerous tumours in both lungs.
“First time around I was an emotional wreck. I was really worried about having to get chemo, so I was lucky in that sense. This time around I’m not as worried. It’s back, so I’m going to get on with it. I think I always had in the back of my mind that it might turn into cancer again, so in a way I’ve felt prepared,” Mrs Friske said.
Pam’s two tumours are only 1cm in diameter. Due to the small size of her tumours, radiation therapy treatment is a suitable option. However, as the tumours are so small a special technique is recommended. Stereotactic radiation therapy delivers pinpoint precision radiation to the individual tumours, ensuring safe and effect treatment directly to the tumour, while minimising radiation dose to surrounding healthy organs and tissue. Pam was the first lung cancer patient at the Icon Cancer Centre to receive this new treatment technique and has had four sessions of radiation on the right lung and will be going back to receive treatment to the left lung.
“I’ve had two treatments across two weeks with no side effects. I’m only on the treatment bed for just over 15 minutes. On my first day I was a little apprehensive, but they assured me of the treatment and talked me through the process, and since then it’s been easy,” Mrs Friske said.