Leading-edge treatment coming to cancer centre

Dawn MacIsaac (with current linear accelerator) says new machine will bring advanced treatment closer to home

Investing in infrastructure -

As she readies the current linear accelerator for her next patient, radiation therapist Leigh-Ann Locke explains how the world-class equipment arriving at the PEI Cancer Treatment Centre in March could be a life changer for some Islanders.

The centre is getting a state-of-the-art linear accelerator that will provide Island cancer patients with more advanced treatment known as TrueBeam – along with space to operate it – at an approximate capital cost of $10 million. There are only a few TrueBeam devices in use across Canada and Prince Edward Island will have one of them.

“We will be using new techniques with new technology,” Locke said. “It’s going to make everything so much easier.”

Linear accelerators deliver high-energy radiation to treat a variety of cancer types, as well as palliative treatment to provide symptom relief. However, the new machine will provide higher-precision radiation treatments directly to the tumour – minimizing side effects to normal tissue nearby.

It will treat patients with more precise, less invasive “stereotactic body radiation therapy” – an advanced form of radiation that can treat smaller tumours earlier and help patients avoid some surgeries.

The cancer treatment centre currently operates two linear accelerators. The new unit replaces the original one, installed in 2003.

Cancer Treatment Centre Manager Dawn MacIsaac says it will bring Islanders better cancer treatment closer to home.

“Cancer treatments are always changing with technology,” she explained.

“This new equipment will replace our oldest machine, ensuring that we continue to deliver the new 'modern' standard of care for radiation therapy for our cancer patients.”

Together, the centre’s two existing linear accelerators deliver 9,200 radiation treatments per year. Last year, 565 Island oncology patients required radiation therapy as part of their cancer treatment plan.

The PEI Cancer Treatment Centre has provided specialized care and well-being for Islanders diagnosed with cancer since 1989. This includes medical and radiation therapy, clinical trials, patient navigation and post-cancer care support programs. For more information visit

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