Surface Guided Radiation Safer for Breast Cancer Patients

Surface Guided Radiation Safer for Breast Cancer Patients

Monday, September 20, 2021

SARASOTA, Fla. — Radiation can be a powerful treatment for breast cancer, but because it is so close to the heart and lungs, radiation oncology specialists at Sarasota Memorial’s new Radiation Oncology Center are using advanced technology to make sure the treatment you receive today does not lead to other health issues in the future.

The technology is called Surface Guided Radiation Therapy (SGRT), and it can be used to treat nearly every cancer type, but is especially useful when treating patients with breast cancer.

“Because of its proximity to the heart, monitoring and maintaining a patient's position during radiation therapy is particularly important when treating the left breast,” said Tina Hall, manager of the Radiation Oncology Center that Sarasota Memorial opened last year on our University Parkway/Honore campus.

Part of SMH’s expanding Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute, the radiation oncology center uses state-of-the-art linear accelerators with new and innovative AlignRT technology to monitor the precise position and movement of a patient during radiotherapy. 

Using 3D cameras, clinicians can visualize the entire surface being treated and can compare that to the ideal position with sub-millimetric accuracy (within 1 millimeter of translation and 1 degree of rotation). If AlignRT detects any patient movement during treatment, the technology immediately holds the radiation beam, or pauses treatment momentarily.

The outpatient treatment is fast and painless, with continuous monitoring that ensures the radiation is delivered only when a patient is correctly positioned, which prevents exposure and damage to neighboring, healthy tissue and organs, Hall said. 
A side benefit: Each camera helps create a 3D surface model of the treatment area by projecting a red-light pattern on the skin that acts as a virtual tattoo. As the technology advances, it also can eliminate the need for permanent marks that can be an unpleasant reminder of a patient's cancer treatment.
For information, call the Radiation Oncology Center team at 941-917-7575.

About Sarasota Memorial’s Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute
The Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute is committed to providing our community and visitors with convenient access to comprehensive, coordinated and collaborative cancer care. Services cover the entire continuum of oncology care — from prevention, screening and diagnosis to treatment, clinical trials, and lifetime follow-up, survivorship care and support. To bring its vision of world-class cancer care close to home, the Sarasota County Public Hospital Board has invested more than $250 million in the developing Cancer Institute, the cornerstone of which is an 8-story oncology tower (opening in Fall 2021) on the SMH-Sarasota campus. Along with the Radiation Oncology Center on University Parkway, the tower is part of the institute’s expanding center of excellence. For more information about our cancer care services, visit