New facility boosts quality of cancer care at AU Health
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Augusta University Medical Center and the Georgia Cancer Center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday on a new radiation therapy center.
The $10 million project features a radiation treatment that health officials say will allow them to better help cancer patients. AU is one of only three facilities in Georgia with radiation machines that can zero in on moving tumors.
That’s important here, where we’ve seen some of the deadliest cancers – like breast, colon, prostate and lung cancer – at higher rates than the rest of the country.
In addition to the new treatment equipment, the expanded radiation therapy building at AU Medical Center will have an anesthesia room, more natural light, new equipment for procedure rooms and more.
The new treatment equipment will now offer radiation to cancer patients in a new and more precise way that’s a lot less painful than what Trish Patrick experienced.
In December of last year, she found out she had stage one HER2-positive breast cancer.
“I was just extremely blessed that they, Dr. Arnold and Dr. Lee, found the tumor so early because it was stage one. I went through six rounds of chemo beginning in March,” Patrick said.
Radiation followed in August, but Patrick says it was a painful experience.
“The only side effect that I had from radiation was because the last four treatments, they had to get so close to my breast, that it left, like a really bad sunburn,” she said.
But the outdated machines made it worse
“One of the frustrating things for me with radiation was because the radiation machines were a little older than probably what is desired. They would call me and have to reschedule my appointment because the machine was down,” she said.6:02>
But with a state grant of $10 million, Dr. John Barrett with AU Health says the Georgia Cancer Center was able to use that money to purchase the Radixact system.
“The equipment allows us to really expand the capabilities of the radiation center,” Barrett said.>
It’s a non-invasive treatment showing images of where the moving tumor is, and it uses technology to limit the amount of healthy tissue being exposed to a high dose of radiation.
Patrick says it’s not just a relief for the patients but for the employees, as well.
“Just having to navigate that, I know this will be a huge burden lifted off of the staff there, as far as the patients go and know that the technology is going to be a lot better with the new machine,” she said. “And maybe those patients now will not have to experience the severe burning that I had, like that sunburn.”
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