1970-2000 The largest separate unit

Radiation therapy clinic to Pikonlinna

The treatment of cancer was transferred into the Tampere Central Hospital in1962, where it was placed under the control of X-ray research operations, because the radiotherapy equipment of those days was similar to X-ray imaging equipment with respect to their operational qualities. It was not, however, possible to carry out plan for situating the deep radiation therapy institute on the premises of the Central Hospital, even though the foundation of the clinic was already approved by the central hospital district’s executive committee.

A decision was made that the radiotherapy unit of the Tampere Central Hospital was to be placed in Pikonlinna, which had adequate space available for it. The new building for radiotherapy and radiography equipment was completed in 1969. The drawings of the building were created by architect mr. Veijo Martikainen. The chief contractor for the building project was construction company Rakennusliike H. Böök Oy. The building was built in the garden that was located in front of the hospital.  There was an approximately 15-metre-long corridor leading from the hospital to the radiation therapy clinic. The building housed e.g. X-ray examination rooms, film labs, sorting rooms, demonstrations rooms, patients’ waiting rooms, office and archives facilities, and workrooms. The cobalt cannon room and the betatron room belonged to the clinic, but were physically located in a separate wing. The old facilities of Pikonlinna served as a location for a ward. In September of 1970 diagnostic radiology was opened in Pikonlinna, which served the needs of the radiotherapy department.

The Microtron MM14 came to Pikonlinna from Sweden in 1980. It improved the effectiveness of treatments. Mictrotron’s radiation source was ten times more effective in its dose speed than Betatron. It was possible to treat 30-40 patients a day with this machine. The machine required nothing more than ordinary routines from the staff, as well as daily and weekly inspections, which meant that more time was left for patient care.  The machine was easy to use, and one of the reasons why patient safety increased was that the microcomputer which monitored the functioning of the machine did not allow any false commands. The new machine did not, however, displace the Cobalt cannon, since the cancer treatment machine was selected according to the location of the tumor. The Cobalt cannon was still used in the treatment of superficial tumors, whereas the accelerator was better suited especially for the treatment of deep-lying tumors. The treatment capacity of the machines was almost the same, but their operating principle was different.

Microtron was taken out of service on Dec, 31st, 1996. It was replaced by more modern accelerators and machines that improved accuracy and precision of radiotherapy. Pikonlinna acquired a Philips low-energy accelerator in 1989. With this linear accelerator it was possible to optimize radiation doses. The treatment outcomes improved with less side effects when normal tissue was spared. The linear accelerator also brought along information technology. Pikonlinna was able to purchase an American linear accelerator manufactured by Varian. Thanks to the accelerator, treatments became increasingly precise and safe now that it was possible to precisely shape the form and depth of the radiation field with the help of a computer. Radiotherapy could be delivered with the linear accelerator in a manner that shielded the healthy organs from damage. The accelerator’s actual radiation time was 30 seconds; much more time was spent placing the patient in the radiotherapy machine.

In 1978 the most common diagnoses of radiation therapy department were breast cancer, lung cancer, lymphomas, brain tumors and gynecological tumors.