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Better technology means better cancer treatment

The new Heimann Cancer Center uses two advanced radiation systems that can pinpoint tumors and spare healthy tissue.
Gregg Gallant, Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center supervisor of radiation physicists, shows off the latest in precision radiation technology at the new Heimann Cancer Center.

Not that many years ago, radiation treatment was rudimentary. The beams were broad, killing cancer cells but also damaging the surrounding healthy tissue. Technology has sped forward, and today patients at the newly opened Heimann Cancer Center can receive highly sophisticated radiation therapy with greater precision in less time.

The center’s Varian TrueBeam machine treats a variety of cancers far more quickly than earlier radiation technology. Simple treatments that once took 10 to 30 minutes can now take as few as two minutes. It synchronizes imaging and the patient’s position and movement to deliver precise beams. The result is a faster session and a 25% reduction in X-ray dose.

A second machine, Radixact, provides image-guided TomoTherapy to precisely target tumors. It contains embedded CT imaging that adapts to changes in the body, such as weight loss, shrinking tumors and more. The machine rotates around the body to attack the tumor from all angles, and synchronizes the zaps to accommodate the patient’s breathing. Treatments take between 10 and 20 minutes.

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