Permanent skin marks have been a traditional part of radiation treatment. However, new technology that uses 3D imaging to map the skin surface and guide radiation treatment without visible skin marks is now offered at four Front Range hospitals.
Porter, Parker and Littleton Adventist Hospitals and Longmont United Hospital are the first in Colorado to offer the AlignRT system, which is part of the VisionRT system, according to a news release. In addition to not requiring tattoos, the technology saves time, improves efficiency and has greater accuracy than traditional radiation therapy devices, the release said.
“At Centura Health, providing tattoo-less radiation therapy is one way we can reduce anxiety and help patients focus on other aspects of their cancer care or survivorship,” Dr. Rebekah Maymani, a radiation oncologist with Porter Adventist, said in the release. “AlignRT’s imaging capability also helps track movement, which allows for a safer and more accurate treatment.”
Several hospitals in California have incorporated this technology and studies have shown that skin marks pose a significant psychosocial challenge for some women living with breast cancer, the release said. Additionally, numerous companies and tattoo artists specialize in either removing the skin marks or transforming them into more meaningful tattoos for cancer survivors.
Depending on the type and location of the cancer, traditional radiation therapy devices can require numerous tattooed marks on different parts of a patient’s body.
“When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I had friends tell me I may have to be tattooed for the treatment,” Ann Marie Scott, a patient at Porter Adventist Hospital, said in the release. “At the time, you’re willing to do whatever is needed to overcome cancer, but it was a tremendous relief when my oncologist at Porter told me they no longer need to tattoo patients.”
VisionRT also produces a facial recognition device that matches prescription oncology care with a specific patient. Parker Adventist Hospital is the first and only hospital in the nation to offer the facial recognition device, the release said.
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