Hi-tech machine imported to treat cancer patients

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

In a bid to minimise many side effects and danger caused to normal cells of cancer patients ‘Linear Accelerator System machines would be imported by the government instead of currently used Cobolt Radiation Therapy machines, the Health Ministry said.

Health Ministry spokesman W. M. D. Wanninayaka told The Island that the conventional cobolt therapy machines used to treat cancer patients were causing a many complications.

Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena had realised the gravity of the situation and obtained approval of the government to import state-of-the-art Linear Accelerator Therapy machines, the spokesman said.

Under the first phase 10 Linear Accelerators System Therapy machines would be imported and installed in Maharagama, Kandy, Karapitiya, Jaffna and Batticaloa Teaching hospitals.

Under the second phase Anuradhapura, Badulla, Hambantota, Kurunegala and Ratnapura hospitals would get the machines to treat cancer patients, he said.

Consultant Oncological Surgeon Dr. Anuruddha Thewarupperuma, contacted for comment, said that the cancer patients were not aware of the damage caused by the currently used cobolt therapy machines. "What the cobolt therapy machines do is to destroy the normal cells and tissues of the cancer patients along with cancer cells. But when the cancer specialists use the linear Accelerator System Therapy, the machine is precisely capable of destroying only the cancer cells. The machines never destroy the normal cells and tissues whatsoever. This is the difference between cobolt therapy machines and Linear Accelerator System. I feel happy about Minister Sirisena’s decision to import Linear Accelerator System for the benefit of cancer patients."

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