MHSC: Don’t leave town for SRS cancer treatments

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SRS-Linear AcceleratorMHSC’s linear accelerator uses microwave technology and accelerates electrons to an extremely high speed, then allows those electrons to collide with a heavy metal target which produces high-energy X-rays. Once the X-rays are formed, they are shaped and aimed at the target. MHSC has various cone sizes to fit its linear accelerator (see the photo below). The yellow numbers on the machine are some of the machine parameters, which includes the angles of the table and machine rotation. The numbers (12.5) seen on the silver ring means that particular cone has a 12.5mm diameter, which makes it ideal to treat a brain tumor close to that size.

Cancer Center offers SRS treatments here at home

Stereotactic Radiosurgery treatments are now available at Sweetwater Regional Cancer Center’s Radiation Oncology unit.

Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County was able to provide the new equipment last year, said Cancer Center Director Tasha Harris. After going through months of testing and commissioning, the Cancer Center can now offer Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) treatments.

Prior to this, if a patient needed SRS treatment, they would have to travel somewhere out of town, which brings a lot of added stress and cost to an already stressful time, said Dr. Joshua Binks, the center’s radiation oncologist.

“I’m very happy to offer state-of-the-art cancer treatments for patients in our community so they can have care closer to home,” Binks said.

SRS uses precisely targeted radiation beams to treat extremely small tumors in the brain, Harris said. Using 3D imaging, SRS delivers high doses of radiation to the affected area in fewer treatments with minimal impact to the surrounding healthy tissue.

“This is cutting edge treatment and will enable our patients with small brain tumors to receive a highly effective treatment with fewer side effects,” Harris said. “We are very excited about this new service line that we have to offer our patients. It will make a big difference in their lives.”

SRS is primarily used for patients with small brain metastasis, but it can also be used for patients with small primary brain tumors, Harris explained. Patients with multiple brain metastases often receive a whole-brain treatment. That’s not the case with targeted SRS treatments. If a patient has multiple brain metastases, each can be targeted and treated individually. This results in fewer side effects and higher quality of life for our patients.

Depending on the size of the tumor, the size of the radiation beam can be altered with the radiation beam-shaping devices – or cones – attached to the radiation treatment machine, she said. A treatment plan involves the machine delivering radiation as it moves in multiple partial arcs around the patient with the cone pointed at the tumor.

For more information on the treatment or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Binks, call the Radiation Oncology Department at 307-212-7760.


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