Can Video Games Help Cancer Patients?

caring for cancerIt’s well known that video games aren’t just for kids. People of all ages have jumped on the Wii bandwagon and have been discovering the health benefits provided in addition to it being just plain fun. But could it really be possible for video games to have an impact on patient care for those with cancer? Medical physicists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have the startling answer.

While games themselves may not have an effect on patient care, video game processors have been used to reduce the time required to calculate radiation doses for tumors from 70 hours down to 10 seconds!

According to Dr. Steve Jiang, a pioneer in video game processor use for cancer patient care, “The popularity of video games has resulted in a tool that is very beneficial for scientific computing in medicine. The quicker results mean increased convenience for patients and physicians, and translate into a significant way to better patient care.” Now radiation doses can be calculated before each treatment and be altered to match the changing size of the tumor. This allows for more exact treatments, sparing healthy tissue.

“The main idea is to change the way we treat patients,” Dr. Jiang said. “If someone has a cancer, you want to treat the disease immediately and precisely. The current slower calculations require patients to wait for about a week to receive the first radiation treatment after consulting with doctors.”

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