First-of-its-kind technology eliminates need for clinical tattoos for breast cancer patients in NSW

For the first time in New South Wales, breast cancer patients will no longer require permanent tattoo markers during radiation therapy, with the introduction of new technology, AlignRT, which is now available at GenesisCare’s cancer treatment centre at the Mater Hospital.

AlignRT is a unique radiation therapy system which tracks a patient’s positioning before and during their therapy, to assist with set up and treatment accuracy. Prior to the new technology, breast cancer patients received permanent tattoo marks through traditional radiation therapy to ensure treatment was delivered to a precise location.

The technology uses 3D stereoscopic camera units and surface tracking to detect slight movements, automatically pausing treatment before and during treatment, to deliver highly targeted treatment.

Dr Marita Morgia, Radiation Oncologist at GenesisCare Mater Hospital, said: “AlignRT is a welcome high-end technology addition at the Mater which will ease the imposition and burden of radiation therapy by providing ‘tattoo free’ treatment.”
“AlignRT is the first of its kind in the state, providing breast cancer patients with a new option for precision radiation therapy. Rather than using tattoos for daily treatment set-up, the optical guidance allows for the use of thousands of reference points, without any increase in radiation dose.

“For some patients, this will eliminate the added emotional impact of having permanent ink marks, which can be an unwanted reminder of their cancer diagnosis or treatment.
“This innovative technology also facilitates the delivery of a technique called ‘deep inspiration breath hold’ to prevent long term cardiac complications during treatment for left side breast cancer, with constant monitoring of the breathing position with extremely fine accuracy,” she said.

Cancer Institute NSW estimates that by 2021 there will be 6,180 new cases of breast cancer in NSW, accounting for 12.6% of all projected cancer diagnoses in the state.1

The Northern Sydney Local Health District (LHD) has long been considered a ‘hotspot’ for breast cancer, which is the second most common cancer type in the local area, behind prostate cancer.1

Heidi Bayliss, Chief Executive Officer at Mater Hospital, said: “As part of our mission of providing compassionate care at the Mater, we are constantly exploring ways to provide holistic care for our patients. I am particularly proud we’re pioneering this new technology as it will play an important role in reducing some of the emotional and physical scaring associated with breast cancer treatment.”

“Breast cancer cases are on the rise in New South Wales, so we are excited to be at the forefront of this innovative cancer treatment in partnership with GenesisCare,” said Ms Bayliss.

Read the channel 7 story here.

Mater Hospitl, GenesisCare


1. Cancer Control in NSW Report 2018, Cancer Institute NSW

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