X-ray contact therapy in some cases is an alternative to surgery in the treatment of rectal cancer.
In January 2018 three patients in the NKI were the first in the Netherlands to be treated with the Papillon+ X-Ray unit. Treating rectal cancer on this machine can spare a patient the burden of surgery and consequences like a colostomy. The NKI is the first hospital in the Netherlands to use the Papillon equipment for this purpose.
The Papillon is a small X-Ray therapy unit with a very compact X-Ray tube that can be used intracavitary. At an energy of 30-50 kV and a focal distance of approx. 25mm it is an alternative to brachytherapy with radioactive sources.
Radiotherapy with the Papillon is a good alternative to surgery for mall rectal tumours that did not metastazise. It offers a way out for older people in poor health that cannot take radical surgery or narcosis. Also more patients may be eligible for a `wait and see` treatment, in which further treatment is omitted, or postponed until the tumor would start to grow. Radical surgery and a possible colostomy could be avoided that way.
Baukelien van Triest, radiation oncologist in the Netherlands Cancer Institute
`The Papillon treatment is in line with the trend to non/invasive and organ sparing treatment. It offers perspective for all patients in the Netherlands that cannot take surgery`