Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says new technology being used at Auckland City Hospital will enable more precise and faster radiotherapy treatment for people with cancer.
“Improvements in technology means less time in hospital for patients, and allows clinicians to focus radiotherapy precisely on the cancerous tissue,” Dr Coleman says.
By making use of new technology, Dr Coleman believes Auckland’s Regional Cancer and Blood Service is well placed to meet new Faster Cancer Treatment Health target.
The new target is that 90 per cent of patients will receive their first treatment within 62 days of being referred urgently with a high suspicion of cancer by June 2017.
Currently in New Zealand around 60 per cent of patients meeting this criteria receive their first cancer treatment within 62 days.
In visiting Auckland DHB, which has invested $1.5 million in new cancer equipment which is fully up and running following a successful pilot earlier in the year, this week, Dr Coleman believes the RayStation computer programme enables the enhanced use of the linear accelerator which works by using a faster radiation delivery system and swiftly and accurately layering clinical imagery.
"This has resulted in significantly better patient experience," he adds. "Some of the treatments that in the past might have taken 25 minutes can now be delivered in less than five minutes – and with a sub-millimetre accuracy in targeting the cancer.
"On average it means a more effective use of the radiation therapy equipment and allows clinicians to reduce the overall duration of treatment."