New technology increases cancer cure rate -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New technology increases cancer cure rate

January 30, 2007

Valdosta - Valdosta's South Georgia Medical Center hopes this technology will help cure cancer in more patients.

It's called Image Guided Radiation therapy and it's only the second machine of its kind in the state.  "With image guided treatment you can set the patient up and take a cat scan of the tumor and make some last minute adjustments prior to delivering the radiation," say Dr. John Devine, a Radiation Oncologist at SGMC.

Medical Physicist Jeff Long adds, "For the first time ever we can actually see where the tumor lies right before you're treated."

Using cat scan technology, doctors can zone directly into the infected tissue instead of marking a larger area around it.  "With conventional treatment you have to take a larger margin which is going to restrict your ability to deliver high doses of radiation," says Devine.

By delivering a higher dosage, the cancer is being cured more rapidly.  "By radiating smaller amounts of normal tissue, we can increase the dosage to the tumor, so anytime you increase the dose to the tumor, you increase the cure rate," Long says.

And the side effects cancer patients usually feel are minimal.  "The smaller amount of normal tissue you radiate, the fewer side effects," he adds.

Doctors say this new technology brings them one step closer to their goal of a 100 percent cure rate.

The only other machine of this kind in the state is at Emory in Atlanta.