Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sutter To Offer Advanced Cancer Treatment

Sutter To Offer Advanced Cancer Treatment
New Form Of Radiation Therapy Provides Quicker, More Accurate Treatment For Several Cancers

The Linear Accelerator rotates around the patient and stops at the prescribed angle determined during the treatment planning stage. (Photo courtesy of Varian Medical Systems) Times-Herald staff writer

As the Sutter Solano Cancer Center nears its second anniversary, its staff is gearing up to offer more advanced treatments for a wider range of cancers than before, hospital officials said Monday.

Center patients who might previously have had more traditional treatments, like chemotherapy or surgery, now have access to Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), said Janice Hoss, the center's cancer services director. IMRT offers a quicker, more accurate treatment for several cancer types, Hoss said. Breast, prostate, head, neck and lung cancers are among those that can now be treated with the new technology, she added.

"We've gotten more sophisticated with the use of this equipment, and with who we can offer treatment to," Hoss said. "We started out doing the standard treatments, as we got more familiar with the technology, and we're ready to take the next step."

Besides being able to treat a wider range of cancers, the IMRT is more accurate than traditional treatments, better targeting the tumors while sparing healthy tissue from damage, said center radiology oncologists Terry Pierce and Patricia Seid.

"We feel we're maximizing what we have," Seid said.

And as the center begins to see more patients, it continues adding more features, Hoss said.

"More and more people are discovering us and appreciating the (intentionally serene, and less clinical-looking) atmosphere here, when they're really sick," Hoss said.

The center also soon begins national clinical colo-rectal cancer trials and expects to begin using respiratory gating, which tracks a tumor's movement as the patient breathes, helping doctors better direct the radiation beam, Hoss said. The center also recently added genetic counseling to its medical offerings, she said.

Genetic counseling helps identify a family history of cancer and provides genetic testing where appropriate, she added. In five to 10 percent of those diagnosed with cancer, a hereditary component exists, meaning the person has inherited an increased risk for developing the disease, Hoss said. Genetic counseling can help catch problems early.

For information on genetic testing at Sutter Solano Cancer Center, call 551-3400.

• E-mail Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at RachelZ@thnewsnet.com or call 553-6824.

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