September 29, 2023
A First in the Southeast for UF Health

Photo: UF Health

The linac, says Robert Zlotecki, allows doctors to see tissue locations that other devices have a hard time imaging.

Economic Backbone: Cancer Care

A First in the Southeast for UF Health

An update on UF Health and Orlando Health Cancer Institute's cancer care breakthroughs

Amy Keller | 1/12/2023

A First in the Southeast for UF Health

UF Health is the first system in the Southeast to acquire a linear accelerator (or “linac” machine) that enables personalized cancer treatment by combining a detailed MRI with precision radiotherapy. With the Elekta Unity MR-Linac — which features a magnet 30,000 times stronger than Earth’s magnetic field — physicians can see and track changes in tumors smaller than a staple in real time, as well assess a patient’s response to treatment and adapt it if necessary. That’s a game changer for patients with tumors in their liver, prostate, gastrointestinal organs, urinary and reproductive tracts — where tumors can be hard to differentiate from adjacent healthy tissue. “This allows us to see into delicate soft tissues, particularly deep locations where lymph nodes can be involved, and difficult tissue locations where other imaging technologies cannot provide optimal resolution and detail,” says Robert Zlotecki, a professor and vice chair for clinical affairs in UF Health’s department of radiation oncology. The device can also decrease treatment time by days or even weeks for some malignancies, including prostate cancer and rectal primary cancers.

Streamlining Pancreatic Cancer Care

Pancreatic cancer, which strikes approximately 4,800 Floridians each year, is a challenging disease that requires integrated care from multiple providers.

To streamline patient care, Orlando Health Cancer Institute recently launched a Pancreatic Cancer Multidisciplinary Clinic that provides patients with access to all the resources they need at one site on a single day. During their visit, patients undergo diagnostic imaging and have lab work performed as well as meet with a team of medical, surgical and/or radiation oncologists, palliative care specialists, gastrointestinal experts, nutritionists, geneticists and other experts who review their case and come up with personalized treatment options.

“Research shows that multidisciplinary clinics improve patient outcomes, shorten the timeframe from diagnosis to treatment, increase access to care and improve patient and caregiver satisfaction,” says Wasif Saif, deputy director and department chair for hematology and oncology at Orlando Health Cancer Institute. “It sets the stage for a true team approach where our specialists work together to coordinate the evaluation and care of our patients.”

Tags: Cancer Care, Economic Backbone, Feature

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