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NHF FUNDS NEW RADIOACTIVE SOURCES FOR COBALT MACHINES More Cancer Patients Will Receive Treatment

NHF FUNDS NEW RADIOACTIVE SOURCES FOR COBALT MACHINES More Cancer Patients Will Receive Treatment

The Cobalt machines at Kingston Public and Cornwall Regional Hospitals, which are used to provide radiation treatment for patients with cancer and other radiosensitive diseases, are to be fitted with new radioactive sources to replace the existing ones. Cobalt-60 is the radioactive source that is used in the machines, and the National Health Fund has provided a grant of US$400,000 to purchase two new ones. The grant will also cover new radiation measurement kits and computers for use in the radiotherapy departments at both hospitals.

Over the past decade the number of cancer patients have increased significantly. KPH and CRH are the two hospitals in the public sector that offer radiation therapy and the new Cobalt sources will enable the treatment of a greater number of patients and significantly improve the efficiency in the delivery of radiation therapy.

It is the radiation beam that is emitted from Cobalt -60 which is directed at cancer cells to destroy them when a cancer patient is treated on the machine. According to Dr. Collie Miller, Principal Medical Physicist, Ministry of Health, Cobalt -60 has a half-life of five years, that is, its initial activity or strength is reduced by fifty percent in five years. “Over time as the Cobalt-60 source loses its strength, the treatment times for patients on the Cobalt machines get longer. If the source is not replaced in a timely manner, then the treatment times for patients would become unacceptably long.”

Dr. Miller says, “When installed the new Cobalt -60 source will enable a higher and more effective dose rate and shorter treatment times for patients.”

For further information contact:
Rosemarie Lee, Tel. 906-1106 or 535-0909
Shermaine Robotham, Tel. 322- 0809

An agency of the Ministry of Health & Wellness
NHF’s QMS is ISO – 9001:2015 Certified

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