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Gold Coast first: New treatment technology eliminates need for cancer patients to receive permanent clinical tattoos

Gold Coast, Australia – For the first time, eligible cancer patients on the Gold Coast will no longer require permanent tattoo markers during radiation therapy treatment. The introduction of AlignRT, available at GenesisCare’s cancer treatment centre in Southport, marks the second in the state offering this innovative technology.

AlignRT is a unique radiation therapy system being used to treat patients across lung, breast, prostate skin and brain cancer. It tracks a patient’s positioning before and during their therapy, to assist with set up and treatment accuracy. Prior to the new technology, these 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, to deliver highly targeted radiation therapy.

Dr Selena Young, a Radiation Oncologist at GenesisCare said: “AlignRT is a world-class technology which will ease the imposition and burden of radiation therapy by providing ‘tattoo free’ treatment.

“AlignRT is the first system of its kind installed on the Gold Coast, providing eligible local 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,” said Dr Young.

GenesisCare Southport Centre Leader, Leah Wheeler said: “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.

“At GenesisCare we are committed to delivering the highest quality of cancer care for our patients which is why we decided to invest in this world-class technology to deliver tattoo-free radiation therapy.

“Many of those who come to us for radiation therapy have already undergone surgery and chemotherapy so by the time they reach us they are physically and emotionally exhausted. We want to help alleviate any anxiety they may have around permanent tattoos so they can focus entirely on their treatment and getting back to their loved ones,” said Ms Wheeler.

For approximately 50 per cent of all cancer patients, radiotherapy plays an important role in the treatment pathway, used with curative intent and in pain and symptom management.

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