New cancer treatment machine coming to PRMC

Imagine treating cancer with a radiation device smaller than your fingernail all while not damaging your other organs inside your body. It’s all possible with a machine called SagiNova.

SagiNova is a high dose rate brachytherapy machine that is used to treat different cancers with radiation. But it’s not just any machine. 47 ABC spoke with Dr. John Mansueti, Medical director of Radio Oncology at PRMC.

Dr. Mansueti says, “It’s about the size of a grain of rice but it’s incredibly powerful and were able to bring that little radioactive source into a device that I put inside a patient so were able to get the radiation right on to the tumor.”

So what is Brachytherapy? It’s a German term that means close therapy. Dr. Mansueti says SagiNova is able to get the radioactive source right next to the tumor without damaging surrounding organs in the process.

So what type of cancers are treated using SagiNova? Dr. Mansueti says the two most common are breast cancer and cervical cancers. So how does this work?

Dr. Mansueti says, “I literally insert a device in the operating room for cervical cancer, a device goes into the uterus and around the top of the vaginal area. For breast cancer we have the surgeon insert a device and that device stays in the woman’s breast for a week.”

Dr. Mansueti says after the device is inserted the patient then gets a dose of radiation. Those doses usually come in about five sessions of about six to ten minutes. He says the amount of time between the sessions depends on what kind of cancer you have. And once the treatment is done, the patient is free to go home.

Dr. SagiNova says, “This machine has a lot of nice aspects to it that really allows us to make sure we’re doing exactly exactly what we planned on doing, quality assurance type methods.”

Although SagiNova is not installed in PRMC yet, we can expect to see it as soon as the end of January. Dr. Mansueti also tells us that PRMC will be the only location in the United States that will have this machine.

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