The Comprehensive Cancer Center at King Fahd Medical City (KFMC) receives 3,000 oncology patients each year, and provides treatment services for more than 20% of cancer cases in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in addition to radiotherapy and palliative treatment.
The Center contributes to developing the national cancer strategy, as it is considered the Ministry of Health's main reference for hematology and oncology patients in the Central Province, to which patients are referred from all regions of the Kingdom for treatment.
Dr. Mahmoud Al Yamany, Chief Executive Officer of KFMC, affirmed KFMC's commitment to providing specialized services to citizens in accordance with the highest international standards and in line with the health care strategy in the Kingdom, as part of KFMC's plans to develop the therapeutic aspect and have access to the latest world-class technologies in this field, and to integrate and utilize new technologies to serve the largest segment of beneficiaries through the easiest and most accurate therapeutic and diagnostic methods.
Dr. Al Yamany highlighted the expansion of the Center as part of the modern medical centers projects, in addition to the Proton Center, which is the state-of-the-art technology in the field of oncology treatment, and praised the support KFMC receives by HE Minister of Health, Dr. Tawfeeq Al Rabiah, and the great concern given to the completion of these health projects and to the provision of specialized services for patients with the highest possible quality.
Dr. Al Yamany also said that KFMC has recently inaugurated the first phase of operation of the nuclear accelerator for oncology treatment by Proton in KFMC in cooperation with the Saudi Particle Therapy Center, which is ranked as the first in the Middle East. He explained that the installation and operation of the nuclear accelerator come in light of the agreement with the Ministry of Health to establish the National Center for Cancer Proton Therapy at KFMC. Dr. Al Yamany pointed out that the project of transfer and localization of proton therapy technology is one of the largest proton therapy projects around the globe that contributes to easing the burden of the patient and his escorts who have to travel to receive proton radiotherapy in USA or Germany.
As for the project of nuclear accelerator technology, Dr. Mousa Al-Harbi, Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at KFMC, said that this technology helps accelerate the protons to the energy of 250 million electron volts, to be then directed to the tumors to meticulously destroy cancer cells, thus keeping the adjacent organs safe. The beam emitted from this accelerator is distributed on five radiotherapy rooms, one of which was allocated to eye treatment and scientific research.
"Proton therapy is one of the latest techniques for oncology therapy; as the proton is accelerated in a cyclotron, and then directed to the tumor to kill the cancerous cells and ensure the safety of the adjacent cells." Al-Harbi said.
He added: "This type of treatment reduces the usual complications of conventional radiotherapy, which uses x-rays in the treatment of tumors. Also, this type of radiotherapy is appropriate in child cancer cases, where the preservation of the non-infected cells is a therapeutic priority, while, at the same time, the doctor can use a high dose (higher than the one that can be given in case of x-ray therapy). Therefore, this high dose will increase the chances of recovery from this disease".
With respect to the sections of the center, Al-Harbi mentioned that it will include the following:
Department of Hematology and Stem Cell Transplantation:
This includes inpatient and outpatient departments supported by One-day unit to provide chemotherapy and support cancer patients, as well as providing medical advice to all KFMC facilities of various sectors and hospitals. The department is specialized in diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic leukemia, all types of lymphoma, myeloma, bone marrow failure and other serious blood diseases that require specialized centers for diagnosis and treatment.
Department of Oncology:
One of the most important departments of the center, where tumors of breast, colon, rectum and lung constitute more than 50% of cases, in addition to tumors of the brain and nerves, soft tissue, bones and tumors of female reproductive system as well as a large number of rare tumors.
Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology:
Helps all children with tumors or complex and chronic blood diseases and brings hope and joy to them and their families.
One-day unit in Outpatient Clinics:
This service helps greatly in reducing the admission of cases as all types of chemotherapy are provided and patients with high fever or low blood and platelet counts are diagnosed. Intravenous antibiotics and blood transfusions are given to patients, helping patients and their families to remain in the hospital for few hours only without the need for admission, unless necessary, in addition to other supporting diagnostic departments that contribute to the success of pediatric oncology, such as the Department of Radiology and laboratory departments, with all surgical specialties as well as oncology pharmacy, where the chemotherapy is prepared.
The department includes the latest radiotherapy devices; such as the CT simulator, which is one of the most modern accurate devices for the detection of cancer tumors, and two linear accelerators. Both devices are the state-of-the-art in radiotherapy and radiation planning. The department evaluates patients requiring radiotherapy through outpatient clinics and radiotherapy units. Currently, the department provides the latest radiotherapy techniques, such as IMRT, Rapid Arc, IGRT, Radiation Surgery, Brachytherapy, Radioisotope Therapy and Ultrasound Therapy, which is the first device of its kind in the region, as well as opening a recovery room.
Medical Physics Unit:
This unit is affiliated to the Radiotherapy Department. It includes a number of physicists and technicians in various medical physics disciplines. It also performs all radiotherapy planning and counts radiological doses for patients, in addition to calibration of all radiotherapy and diagnostic equipment and diagnostic devices. Moreover, the unit performs necessary quality tests to ensure the safety and accuracy of therapeutic and diagnostic results of these devices.
Department of Palliative Therapy:
A special department for the palliative treatment of cancer patients has been opened, supported by specialists in home care, respiratory care, social services and religious and psychological counseling. There is qualitative equipment for pain managment, and the palliative care team provides daily care for inpatients and fulfills their medical, psychological, religious and social needs.
In-patient Wards & Center Clinics:
The hospital has rooms equipped with air filtration systems (HEPA FILTERS) and with positive pressure to prevent the spread of inflammation and infections to hematology and oncology patients.
The capacity, including pediatric wards, is 91 beds, and will be gradually raised to 120 beds, including the pediatric department, before moving to the new center building.
Daily Oncology Unit:
The total capacity is 45 patients / day and a daily pediatric oncology unit was opened to accommodate 15 patients per day.
Radiotherapy Unit: The Unit contains two dual energy accelerators, a class simulator, echo therapy unit, a radiation planning center and an intra-radiotherapy device. Currently, the latest radiotherapy technologies are provided in this unit, where more than seventy patients are treated daily.
Radioisotope Therapy Unit: -
Currently contains two rooms equipped with radioactive iodine and other radioisotopes, with special-equipped rooms in accordance with the international standards and measures in terms of radiation insulation, as well as an independent healthy drainage system for environment protection.
Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah
Dr. Mahmoud AlYamany
Dr. Mousa Al Harbi
One of the techniques of detection and imaging at the Oncology Center