Horizon Health Network first to offer SBRT treatment for prostate cancer in Atlantic Canada

Horizon Health Network (Horizon) is offering Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) to patients with prostate cancer at Horizon’s Saint John Regional Hospital. This is the first time this advanced treatment option has been offered in Atlantic Canada.

SBRT is a process of care that consists of a much shorter course of radiotherapy than the conventional approaches, with only five treatment sessions. This is accomplished by delivering a higher dose per day, which requires significant precision and accuracy with expertise from the treating radiation oncologist as well as a team of medical physicists, medical dosimetrists, radiation therapists, and registered nurses. A modern and advanced linear accelerator technology is also required to provide this treatment. 

“The oncology team at Horizon’s Saint John Regional Hospital is extremely proud to offer this state-of-the-art treatment in New Brunswick”, said Dr. Holly Campbell, radiation oncologist at Horizon’s Saint John Regional Hospital. “While the care is provided in Saint John, patients who meet the criteria for this treatment across Horizon will benefit. Now, after some initial planning, patients can begin and finish their cancer treatments in as little as two weeks.”

The overall reduction in the number of treatments is less disruptive to the lives of patients with prostate cancer and their families. Patients are now able to complete their radiation treatments over a two-week period.

By skillfully implanting three fiducial markers into the prostate, the multidisciplinary care team can use increased precision and a higher dose of radiation to target the cancer. The increased precision of radiation also reduces the number of side effects commonly experienced by prostate cancer survivors, such as incontinence issues and erectile disfunction.

“Traditionally, prostate cancer radiotherapy (RT) had been delivered over the course of multiple treatment sessions with a low dose per treatment. To be able to decrease the course of treatments to two weeks is an incredibly important step forward in care in New Brunswick,” said Dr. Stuart Edmonds, Canadian Cancer Society’s Executive Vice President, Mission, Research and Advocacy.

To date, eight patients who met the criteria have completed SBRT treatment and are now prostate cancer survivors.

“When the option to be one of the first patients to receive SBRT treatment was presented to me, I jumped at the opportunity,” said George Queen, 79, Quispamsis resident. “The treatment was modern and didn’t require me to have as many treatments. I feel fortunate to be able to receive this modern treatment close to home. I’m extremely thankful to Dr. Campbell and the medical team for making SBRT treatment available in New Brunswick.”

“Introducing SBRT for prostate cancer is an exciting development for Horizon and aligns with our strategic plan by embracing innovation and enabling Horizon employees to work smarter, increase productivity and improve treatment options for our patients”, said Dr. John Dornan, Horizon’s Interim President and CEO. “I’m extremely proud of Dr. Holly Campbell and the entire oncology team for the work they did to make this modern treatment available at Horizon.”

To learn more about SBRT treatment for prostate cancer and the health care team that is involved in providing the treatment, please view our video here.

Men who are 50 and over should discuss screening for prostate cancer with their health care provider.  The PSA blood test is a key step in detecting prostate cancer early. Make an informed decision about whether the PSA test is right for you by talking with your health care provider and considering your personal risk factors.  

Dr. Holly Campbell, BSc, MD, FRCPC, has been a radiation oncologist, and head of the Brachytherapy Program, at Horizon’s Saint John Regional Hospital since 2009. She is also an assistant professor at Dalhousie University. Born and raised in Saint John, NB, Dr. Campbell attended University of New Brunswick for her Bachelor of Science, and attended Dalhousie Medical School in Halifax, NS. She completed a fellowship in Brachytherapy at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Campbell practiced medicine as a radiation oncologist in Ontario for eight years before returning home to Saint John.

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For more information contact:

Kris McDavid
Media Relations