Treating Cancer with State-of-the-Art Technology
By Dr. Randy Mudge, Physician-in-Chief of Oncology at Bronson Healthcare
An estimated 1 in 3 Americans receive a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. In Calhoun County alone, nearly 2,000 residents, on average, are diagnosed with some form of cancer each year. Although these numbers are staggering, new research and technology in the field are helping Bronson experts take cancer care to the next level.
Options for Treating Cancer
No two people are exactly alike. Likewise, no two cancer treatment plans are exactly the same. Depending on the type of cancer, time of diagnosis and if the disease has spread, a patient may undergo a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, medication and/or radiation treatment. Palliative care – care that will help reduce pain and negative side effects of cancer – can also be prescribed.
Precise, Targeted Treatment
External beam radiation therapy is one of the most common forms of treatment. Radiation is localized, meaning that it targets one specific part of the body. For example, if a patient receives a breast cancer diagnosis with a tumor near the armpit, radiation is directed only to the tumor. Radiation therapy uses extremely high doses of targeted radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.
This is different from medication or chemotherapy that sends cancer treatment across the entire body. Bronson Healthcare offers radiation treatment for cancer patients at Bronson Cancer Center - Battle Creek. Here, patients receiving radiation treatment have access to a new, extremely sophisticated piece of radiation technology – the Varian TrueBeam linear accelerator, along with HyperArc technology. This technology reduces radiation treatment times and improves tumor targeting for the approximately 350 patients who receive radiation treatment at the center each year.
About the TrueBeam Linear Accelerator
The new linear accelerator is expected to deliver nearly 6,000 radiation treatments each year. For patients, this new equipment means:
- Some radiation treatment times will be completed in half the time it would have taken on the previous radiation equipment.
- Enhanced 3-D imaging allows for tumor targeting to take 60 percent less time and use 25 percent less of a radiation dose, when compared to previous imaging technology.
- The equipment monitors a patient’s breathing to compensate for tumor movement. Radiation beams are sent only when the tumor is in an optimal position.
These factors can make a significant difference in the patient’s overall experience when it comes to comfort, accuracy and time saved during radiation treatment. While every patient’s diagnosis requires a personal plan of care, having this technology is already making a difference for many patients and families in our community.
Dr. Randy Mudge is a radiation oncologist at the Bronson Cancer Center - Battle Creek and the physician-in-chief of oncology for Bronson Healthcare. The Bronson Cancer Center - Battle Creek is recognized by the Joint Commission with the Gold Seal of Approval. This recognition means that it meets the highest national standards for quality of care, so patients can trust they’re getting the best possible cancer care.