As construction continues on Sidney Health Center’s Cancer Center, a “Topping Out” Ceremony was held on Friday, October 1. The event marked the completion of the cancer center’s outside structure for Phase I of the project. Cancer survivors and supporters were invited to stop by and sign a “pink” beam before the final steel beam was lifted into place.
Approximately 100 people attended the ceremony to sign the beam and celebrate the addition of radiation oncology services at Sidney Health Center. Phase I includes construction of the vault and shelling in the area west of the clinic.
Rick Haraldson, Sidney Health Center CEO, addressed the crowd and thanked the community for their generous support thus far. “October is breast cancer awareness month and an opportune time to have a dedication such as this one.” The project contractor suggested the traditional ceremony which recognizes growth and prosperity.
As Phase I nears completion, Sidney Health Center will be installing Montana’s first 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.
In addition to the CT image that is taken for every patient, every day – another major difference is the way that radiation hits the treatment area. A single beam of radiation is modulated into smaller “beamlets”, which are delivered in a circular pattern, from any point in a 360° radius around the patient. Typically, tens of thousands of beamlets are included in this unique delivery pattern. With that many beamlets, delivered from all angles around the patient, dose conforms to the tumor and avoids critical organs like never before—which can mean improved outcomes, fewer side effects and a higher quality of life.
“We looked at several options and concluded TomoTherapy was unique and state-of-the-art, essentially a step above the rest,” explained Dr. Lyle Harrison, Sidney Health Center radiation oncologist. “I am thrilled to be working with Sidney Health Center and offering this cutting-edge cancer treatment; but more importantly, our patients are going to benefit tremendously!”
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.
The TomoTherapy equipment is anticipated to be up and running by the end of the year. Meanwhile, the Foundation for Community Care continues to raise funds for Phase II of the Cancer Care Project, which involves completing the renovation in order to relocate chemotherapy and medical oncology to offer all outpatient cancer treatment in one-centralized location.