**** NSHA Media Release
QEII Cancer Centre first in country to earn prestigious certification for stereotactic treatment
The QEII Cancer Centre’s radiation oncology team recently earned the Novalis Certified designation for the delivery of safe and effective stereotactic body radiation therapy.
Known as stereotactic treatment, this accelerated, ultra-precise form of radiation provides the highest standards of clinical care for certain cancers.
The precision spares healthy organs and tissue surrounding the tumour. Stereotactic treatment is delivered over a shorter period-of-time than traditional radiation therapy with fewer side effects, offering cancer patients a much greater quality of life.
Jaye Fisher is one patient who has benefited from this treatment. First diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018, she had a mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy and then stereotactic radiation therapy for cancer that had spread to her liver, sacrum and lymph nodes.
This would not have been treatable with radiation therapy using a more conventional technique. In 2020 the cancer spread to the brain. It was not operable, so she had three stereotactic treatments directed at the tumour. She had an excellent response to all treatments. Follow-up testing shows all spots are gone and the tumour in the brain has shrunk drastically.
“I have a great cancer care team and the treatment was really successful,” said Mrs. Fisher. “I am tired, my appetite is poor, and my memory loss is horrible, but otherwise I feel good. I had no burns, and no hair loss with the radiation, which are common side effects of conventional radiation treatment and I only needed a few treatments. With conventional radiation, I would have needed 5-10 treatments to a much larger area with more serious and ongoing side effects likely, compared to what I experienced. I just had my regular CT and MRI scans and all is good. So far, I don’t need any more treatments and my scans have been extended to every four months instead of every three, so that’s a big relief.”
The QEII Cancer Centre is now one of about 50 Novalis Certified centres in the world and the first in Canada to achieve this designation.
“Earning the Novalis Certified designation is a tremendous achievement for our team,” said Dr. Brendan Carr, president and CEO, Nova Scotia Health. “This designation speaks to the high calibre, multidisciplinary team who provide SBRT to cancer patients in Nova Scotia.”
Preparing for and applying to be Novalis Certified is a rigorous two-year process, requiring a multidisciplinary team approach to complete the application and prepare for and participate in the onsite program review.
“It was a lot of work, but the learning was invaluable and we received great feedback,” said Dr. Amanda Cherpak, director of Clinical Medical Physics, Nova Scotia Health and a member of the team who participated in the application for certification.
Becoming a Novalis Certified centre involves a thorough onsite and offsite review, an evaluation of the team’s policies and protocols, their collaborative involvement in patient care and the commitment to continual self- assessment and quality improvement.
More information about Novalis certification is available here: https://www.novaliscircle.org/certification/