Sidney Health Center received a special delivery on Monday morning as the radiation treatment equipment arrived for the Cancer Care Center. Sidney Rental was on-site with a crane to hoist the radiation therapy unit into the vault.
The first of its kind in Montana, Sidney Health Center is installing a TomoTherapy Hi-Art radiation treatment system and bringing the most advanced cancer treatment to the MonDak region. Unlike traditional radiation therapy equipment, the TomoTherapy system combines CT scan imaging with treatment delivery, ensuring the most accurate radiation treatment with the fewest side effects.
“The installation and commissioning of the TomoTherapy unit is a sophisticated process,” commented Jen Doty, Clinic and Physician Services Director. “The process takes about a month to complete. This is a big day for Sidney Health Center; it signifies our commitment to area residents who are battling cancer. We are one-step closer to offering the most-advanced radiation therapy.”
As indicated, TomoTherapy staff will be on-site throughout the month of December installing and commissioning the equipment as well as training Cancer Care staff. Installation entails assembling the unit and setting up the treatment–planning software, which is anticipated to take about two weeks. The next step involves physics testing and system acceptance with a physicist from TomoTherapy and Sidney Health Center’s physicist, Tim Stack. Clinical training and testing with phantom patients will follow for the radiation therapist, Jaime Watterson.
“I am excited to get the service off the ground and begin offering this treatment to area cancer patients,” stated Dr. Lyle Harrison, radiation oncologist. “December is going to be a busy month for the staff and I as we get trained and acclimated to this amazing equipment. I can hardly wait to share the benefits of this treatment with our patients.”
TomoTherapy staff will continue to be on-site the first week in January for support and back-up when Sidney Health Center starts delivering radiation therapy treatments. Every time a patient comes for treatment, he/she will get a CT image. The built in CT scanner allows Dr. Harrison the ability to evaluate the tumor daily and adapt the treatment to account for tumor shrinkage and to minimize common side effects including dry mouth, taste alterations, esophagitis, weight loss, tissue fibrosis, bladder/bowel irritation, skin redness/blistering and hair loss.
Another unique quality of TomoTherapy is that it can treat multiple tumors at once as well as complex tumor shapes. In short, it offers the most sophisticated form of IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy) with the greatest precision, the fewest side effects to normal tissues, and ultimately, the best outcomes.
To find out more about TomoTherapy or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Harrison, please call Sidney Health Center’s Cancer Care at (406) 488-2504 or 800-331-7575.