Clinical & Radiation Oncology at SKMCH&RC, Lahore
Almost 60% of the patients diagnosed with cancer will require radiotherapy during the course of their treatment. Radiotherapy, also commonly referred to as radiation therapy, is the technology that uses different types of high-energy radiation to damage or kill cancer cells so as to prevent them from reproducing, making it a life-saving tool in the treatment of patients with cancer.
Radiotherapy can be used as a standalone therapy, or in conjunction with other cancer treatments. It is frequently employed in the treatment of metastatic and recurrent cancer, and in many cases, it can provide months and even years of high-quality life. When it is used near the end of life, it is an effective and efficient means of managing pain, which may accompany progressive cancer.
The Department of Clinical and Radiation Oncology at Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (SKMCH&RC), Lahore is equipped with sophisticated technology to deliver both external-beam therapy and brachytherapy.
The infrastructure available for external-beam therapy includes five linear accelerators, with Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) with Hyper Arc , Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT), Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT), Rapid Arc and On-Board Imager and Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) capabilities. We have, two large bore CT simulators with respiratory gating, high-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy and a comprehensive treatment planning system. On-Board Imager or Cone beam CT scan, installed on the treatment couch, allows daily verification of the target, thus ensuring that the desired dose is being delivered to the targeted area.
At SKMCH&RC, we aim to continuously upgrade our equipment and technology, so as to be able to provide the best possible treatment to all our patients. The True Beam radiotherapy system offers a wide spectrum of most advanced treatment modalities including the SBRT, SRS with Hyper Arc™ and Rapid Arc radiotherapy, VMAT, Deep Inspiratory Breath Hold in left sided breast cancer and tumour tracking.
Linear accelerator based Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy or Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SABR/SBRT) is emerging as an attractive option for treating cancers in the lung, head and neck, prostate, liver and other disease sites outside the central nervous system. The main advantage of SABR/SBRT is the capacity to escalate the dose to the target lesion and thus to increase local control while limiting dose to nearby critical organs and normal tissue.
All patients undergoing radiotherapy should have a planning CT scan in the position which can be reproduced on daily basis on machine and this CT is required for delineation of tumour. We have a 4D CT scan facility which takes into account the motion of tumour with respect to breathing cycle of the patient, which further decreases the chances of missing the tumour while delivering radiotherapy.
Advances in radiotherapy imaging allow us to target tumours with sub-millimetre precision. Greater accuracy means that fewer healthy cells are damaged, which, in turn, means higher doses can be given. This makes treatment more effective and reduces side effects.
We also offer High Dose Rate brachytherapy to both, intercavity and interstitial lesions, which is mainly used to treat gynaecological cancers, prostate and rectal cancers where the radiotherapy isotope is placed within or in vicinity of the tumour and delivers a very high dose to the cancer cells. At SKMCH&RC, Lahore we perform almost 60 such procedures every month.
Training Opportunities for Physicians
- Radiation Oncology Training Programme is approved by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan (CPSP)
- Fellowship in Radiation Oncology
- Fellowship in Clinical and Radiation Oncology