Advanced radiation treatment comes to South Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Advanced radiation treatment comes to South Georgia

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April 26, 2008

Albany -- New technology allowing doctors to better treat cancer will be right here in Southwest Georgia.

"It has the capability for more accurately, more precisely targeting the tumor and more precisely blocking out the structures that we don't want to treat," said Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Charles Mendenhall.

"We will be able to do a lot more intricate cancers that are in real hard places to get to," said Director of Radiation and Oncology of Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, Linda VanderMerwe.

This three and a half million dollar TomoTherapy Unit is the first of its kind in Georgia. "It will allow us to go to a higher dose with more control rate with a particular type of tumor. And give us the ability to deliver the treatment at a higher degree of safety," said Dr. Mendenhall.

The unit will work like a cat scan. "It rotates 360 degrees and is constantly turning on and off. And its all computer driven," said Dr. Mendenhall.

But not every patient receiving radiation will be able to get this treatment. "With our other machines treatment takes two to three minutes.  This takes 15 to 20 minutes and sometimes people can't lay that flat for that long," said VanderMerwe.

But for those who can,  they won't have to go to Atlanta or out of the state. "It's a big step forward for this area of the country. And our patients deserve it," said Dr. Mendenhall.

"If you have to introduce them to having to travel outside of the area. That is very stressful and financially straining. And having this local helps us take that piece of the pie out," said VanderMerwe.

And will be one less thing to worry about during what can be a very strenuous and difficult experience.

Doctors and hospital staff hope to have the TomoTherapy Unit ready for cancer patients to use by June.

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