UAE: Abu Dhabi hospital opens radiation therapy department to boost progressive cancer care

The department’s launch will further advance SSMC’s position as a specialised hospital for oncological care


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Fri 13 Oct 2023, 1:11 PM

Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC) has inaugurated its radiation therapy department that is set to deliver progressive cancer care for patients in the UAE and the region.

Radiation therapy, also referred to as radiotherapy, is a type of cancer treatment that uses high-energy beams to destroy the DNA of cancer cells. One of the most widely used types of cancer treatments, radiation therapy can reduce and in some cases eliminate tumours — making it a vital and effective option to treat most types of cancer.

It can also be used in conjunction with other treatments, such as chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy, hormonal therapy, and surgery to yield the best outcomes and control symptoms of the disease.

Radiation therapy is a defining pillar of comprehensive cancer care. It is estimated that more than half of cancer patients worldwide need radiation therapy as part of their treatment plans at some point of their cancer journey. Globally, there are more than 18 million people diagnosed with cancer and the disease is associated with 9.6 million deaths per year. In the UAE, cancer is the third leading cause of death with breast cancer being the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the country.

The department’s launch will further advance SSMC’s position as a specialised hospital for oncological care, said Dr Daniel Chamberlain, chair of radiation therapy department at the hospital, which is a joint-venture partnership between Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) and Mayo Clinic.

“SSMC is proud to be on a journey of continued growth to place patients’ needs first. Developed in partnership with Mayo Clinic, the radiation therapy department will support SSMC in expanding its oncological offerings.

Chamberlain underlined that the department would provide external beam radiation therapy in a definitive and palliative care setting while utilising the latest technologies with the highest levels of precision and innovation.”

“The department will be led by a renowned multidisciplinary team of experts consisting of radiation oncologists, medical physicists, radiation technologists and oncology nurses to provide highly specialised, holistic and patient-centred care of the highest quality.”

In addition to being able to deliver 50 treatment sessions per day at full capacity, the department can provide the treatment using different techniques, including the intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), volume modulated arc therapy, conformal radiation therapy, stereotactic fractionated radiotherapy (SBRT/SRT), stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), total body irradiation (TBI), and respiratory managed radiotherapy.

Among an extensive range of technological devices that provide extraordinary accuracy and benefits to patients, SSMC invested in the Varian TrueBeam linear accelerators, which are designed to treat tumours with high precision while minimising the effect of radiation on critical parts of the body.

Dr Naser Ammash, CEO, SSMC, added that as a hospital specialised in complex and serious care, boosting the provision of world-class care in oncology is a cornerstone of its mission.

“Our newly opened radiation therapy department is set to provide added convenience and bring expert cancer care closer to home for patients living in the UAE and the region. Our focus remains on delivering integrated and innovative care led with empathy and compassion to achieve the best outcomes.”


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