High Dose Rate Brachytherapy in a new treatment room

1992 Cobalt en HDR in B10.jpg 

1993. The microSelectron HDR (High Dose Rate) next to the Cobalt irradiation unit in treatment room nr. 10 in the basement of the radiotherapy department.   

In the basement area, under treatment room 5 (present name A4), an additional treatment room was built during renovations in 1992. Until then, the basement had been a bare, technical area. Now, the entire zone between the hospital elevator block and the new clinical room was renovated and upgraded to a clinical environment. There were a waiting area, changing rooms and a control area. The treatment room itself was heavily shielded from the linear accelerator in the room above. In the ceiling, a 40 cm thick barrier of iron was built in. The basement was henceforth not used for daily work and there reigned a great calm. Internist Babs Taal writes in her book "Als het leven langer duurt" (If life lasts longer):           "... When I was walking through the long corridor in the basement with its yellow linoleum floor and pale yellow walls, I had the feeling I was going to heaven. That corridor was so completely peaceful, I was walking towards the light." 

Brachytherapie in de kelder.jpg

1993. Radiation oncologist Gertrude Baris, a visiting physician, and radiation therapist Wilco van der Lugt in the control area of treatment room 10 in the basement.

The treatment of inoperable oesophageal carcinoma. In 1993, internist Babs Taal and radiation oncologist Gertrude Baris are planning the brachytherapy treatment of oesophageal carcinoma by means of the microSelectron HDR. The treatment room in the cellar, where the old Cobalt machine was used as spare treatment unit and for physics research, is furnished with the necessary equipment for the remote control of the Selectron HDR and for interventions. In order to allow observation from the control area during fluoroscopies, a video link is installed. The internal irradiation of the oesophagus, carried out with a radioactive source introduced through a small tube, is especially prescribed for the treatment of advanced, inoperable cancers. In cases where the patient seriously suffers from a narrowing of the oesophagus, this irradiation brings relief within a short time.Within a few days, patients can eat again and their condition improves.   

beoordelen CT scan voor scopie 2.jpg
gertrude Baris ontwikkelen van brachy scheam web.jpg

1993. Internist Babs Taal (left) and radiation oncologist Gertrude Baris during the planning of the brachytherapy treatment of oesophagus.

Gertrude Baris In Memoriam. Still in 1993, disaster strikes. Gertrude Baris dies suddenly as the result of a stroke.  There is much consternation among the staff of the radiotherapy department and her colleagues at the hospital. She was a strong woman with strong opinions who rebelled when she noticed injustice or was faced with prejudice. For colleagues and staff she was a cordial colleague with a warm heart. With her flaming red curls and sharp tongue she impressed when something had to be put right. From one day to the next she is no longer there. We have a warm memory of her and will never forget Gertrude. 

Continuation of the work. The radiation oncologists Berthe Aleman and Caro Koning pursue the cooperation in the basement with Babs Taal. The results of the combination of High Dose Rate brachytherapy and external irradiation of inoperable oesophageal cancer are described in 1996 in various magazines, see references below. After a few years, this treatment technique is abandoned due to the occurance of too many unexpected late side effects. 

For more information about brachytherapy see for example Wikipedia. 

For more information on High Dose Rate Brachytherapy and treatment of oesophageal cancer see the following references:

Bronnen & Publicaties

  • [84] “High dose rate brachytherapy before external beam irradiation in inoperable oesophageal cancer” by Taal BG, Aleman BM, Koning CC, Boot H.. Br J Cancer 1996;74:1452-1457 ,
  • [85] “Modulation of toxicity following external beam irradiation preceded by high-dose rate brachytherapy in inoperable oesophageal cancer.” By Taal BG, Aleman BM, Koning CC, Boot H. Eur J Cancer 1996;32A:1815-1818 ,
  • [86] “Als het leven langer duurt”, the world of oncology from within. Described by the internist Babs G. Taal, 2012. ISBN 978-94-6008-141-5. ,