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New Advances in Radiation Treatment Close to Home

Patients in northwest New Jersey who need radiation treatment for cancer can now get it more efficiently and precisely than ever thanks to the recent addition of the new TrueBeam® Linear Accelerator at the Center for Cancer Care at Saint Clare’s Denville Hospital.

The technology allows radiation therapists to target the tumor and deliver high-level radiation, destroying the cancer cells while preserving the surrounding, normal tissue. The process takes only minutes and allows patients to get expert, compassionate care they need close to home.

To understand how the process works, we sat down with Anurag Chandra, M.D., medical director of radiation oncology for the Center for Cancer Care. Dr. Chandra is a board-certified radiation oncologist with extensive experience in caring for patients with cancer of the breast, lung, prostate, bladder, brain, head and neck, gastrointestinal, liver, skin, spine and other soft tissue areas. He is especially skilled in highly specialized treatment techniques, such as Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) and Rapid Arc Intensity Modulated RadiationTherapy. Dr. Chandra earned his medical degree at the well- respected Albany Medical College in Albany, New York. After his medical training, he completed his residency at the world renowned M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. While at NYU Medical Center and Albany Medical Center Hospital, he was the attending physician for the department of radiation oncology, where he developed extensive experience in quality assurance and maintenance programs, and implemented stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) programs for the treatment of lesions of the lungs, spine, liver and abdomen.

Q. What is a Varian TrueBeam® Radiotherapy System?

A. It is a state-of -the-art radiation therapy delivery system, which includes advanced imaging and precise treatment delivery capabilities. The system offers patients treatment that is powerful and precise, minimizing damage to surrounding tissue.

Q. When did Saint Clare’s Health acquire the TrueBeam® Radiotherapy System?

A. The machine was delivered in March 2019, and we started treating patients in July 2019.

Q. What are the benefits of TrueBeam®?

A. It is non-invasive, fast and effective, offers precise treatment, customized treatment plans, and it offers a comfortable treatment environment for the patient.

Q. What types of cancer can be treated with TrueBeam® technology?

A. All types of cancer can be treated. TrueBeam can target tumors anywhere in the body. TrueBeam® is especially useful in treating cancers that are difficult to target due to size, location and shape.

Q. Why would a patient want to be treated with TrueBeam®?

A. Truebeam offers faster treatment times and fewer visits. The imaging system is more advanced with better visualization of internal anatomy; it also delivers more precise treatment with ability to better align the patient’s internal anatomy on the treatment couch.

Q. What is the difference between radiosurgery and radiotherapy? What conditions are eligible for radiosurgery?

A. Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) are focused precise high-dose radiation treatment of conditions in the brain and the body, respectively. Tumors in the brain and the body of usually limited number (1-5) and size (less than 5 cm) are eligible for radiosurgery.

Q. What are the advantages of using TrueBeam® over other forms of surgery or therapy?

A. These are tools that are used together, in conjunction, or separately, depending upon the patient’s case and situation. Truebeam® is used in conjunction with other forms of treatment for all different types of cancers.

Q. What is the TrueBeam® experience like for a patient? How is the treatment delivered?

A. It is a very comfortable and pleasant experience. The radiation therapists are right outside the treatment room monitoring the patient the entire time and can communicate with the patient as much as is needed. The treatment is delivered quickly and precisely, usually over 10 minutes, which includes imaging and delivery. During the treatment, patients also may listen to music of their choosing.

Q. How does the system account for a patient’s breathing motion?

A. We use abdominal compression to reduce respiratory motion. We also use 4-D (4-dimensional) CT scan, which captures the excursion of the tumor with breathing motion.

Abdominal compression can be used to reduce the respiratory motion, therefore being able to target the area of interest more precisely. In order to achieve this, the radiation therapists will use a special device to comfortably compress the patient’s abdomen to restrict breathing as much as possible and then take a 4-dimensional CT scan. This scan captures the entire tumor, including the amount of breathing motion, and will then aid the radiation oncologist and medical physicist on how to create an extremely precise treatment plan.

Q. How long is each session with the TrueBeam® Radiotherapy System?

A. Each session varies due to the treatment plan, but a patient can potentially be in and out of the room in under 10 minutes. Treatments that once took 30 minutes can be done in about 10 minutes.

Q. How long is a course of radiotherapy?

A. That depends upon the type of radiation therapy course selected as appropriate for the patient. and varies due to the type of cancer and treatment plan. Brain lesions can be treated in one to five sessions. Prostate can be five sessions instead of 45. Fewer sessions means less time away from work or family. Most importantly, this treatment allows patients to receive expert care in a compassionate environment, from neighbors dedicated to their healing. The TrueBeam® also allows them to receive their care close to home when it matters most.

For more information and to take a virtual tour of the new TrueBeam® Linear Accelerator, visit For an appointment, call 973-983-7300.