True Beam Docrates

New at Docrates and in Finland: Radiotherapy tattoos – a thing of the past

The tattoos that have been used for aligning radiotherapy became a thing of the past in November when a new AlignRT treatment aligning system was installed in the Docrates Cancer Center. For patients, discarding the tattoos is significant.

Docrates Cancer Center has successfully adopted the new AlignRT positioning system. Thanks to the system, the tattoo marks that have traditionally been used for positioning patients in radiotherapy have become a thing of the past. According to Medical Physicist Timo Kiljunen at Docrates Cancer Center, getting rid of the tattoos is a significant step for patients.

“According to a study* that was published recently, as many as 78% of patients wish the tattoos were unnecessary. Even though the mark is small, it is still permanent, and because of that, many carry a reminder of their cancer treatments for the rest of their lives. Thanks to the new system, patients will not have to worry about this anymore.

AlignRT is an automated system that closely monitors the patients’ movements and compares the patient’s position at a precision of less than a millimetre to the position the patient should be in for optimal radiation. If the patient moves, the system’s 3D cameras immediately detect it and the radiation stops automatically. In addition to getting rid of tattoos, AlighnRT guarantees that the patient’s healthy cells are exposed to less radiation than before, and so the risk of any potential side effects is lower.

“We are happy that we are the first ones in Finland to be able to adopt a system that guarantees safer radiotherapy without any permanent marks on the skin”, says Timo Kiljunen.

* The Breast Journal, Radiotherapy tattoo; Women’s skin as a carrier of personal memory – what do we cause by tattooing our patients?