New Radiation Technology for Treating Cancer

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September 14, 2005
What if treating cancer was as easy as using a Global Positioning System in a car? News 12 is on your side at Medical College of Georgia to show that with new technology, it just might be.

The sounds and green lines are nothing new for Richard Goodis. Diagnosed with prostate cancer in June, he chose radiation treatments over other options.

“It was explained to me previous what problems I might or might not have,” Goodis said.

Twenty-five treatments along, Richard hasn’t had any. But side effects are normal. And the Georgia Radiation Therapy Center has something new that could make them a thing of the past.

“You can localize where a telephone is, or a car is anywhere on the planet through the GPS coordinating system, we can do the same thing to a tumor,” said Jed Howington, Radiation Oncologist, MCG.

Richard will soon have a metallic seed planted in his prostate.

“We can take an image, and that’ll show us where that prostate gland it relative to the crosshairs,” Howington said.

The crosshairs are the green lines, the seed is lined up where they meet. Then, a beam of radiation is sent to the tumor.

“Radiation is delivered continuously while rotating around the patient. The rational for that is to never treat the same normal tissue more than once while always treating the tumor,” Howington said.

Some organs can’t tolerate radiation, so it’s important to only treat the tumor.

“When the tumor is outside the beam of radiation, the beam is turned off. Whenever the tumor enters into the beam of radiation, it turns on,” Howington said.

The beams shape the exact form of the tumor, giving more radiation, increasing the chances of curing cancer. For Richard, anything to keep his track record.

“I did 20 years in the military and dodged all the bullets, and I’ve been retired over 30 years now,” Goodis said.

Richard also had a brain tumor almost 10 years ago and then open heart surgery in 2001. He’s one of the few people so far to be treated with the Image Guided Radiation Technology. It’s especially useful with lung cancer patients.