Precision Radiation Therapy Offered at Union Hospital

May 2007

Radiation therapy can be directed more precisely with the new Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) at the Regional Cancer Center at Union Hospital.  This new technology benefits cancer patients by causing fewer side effects when receiving this advanced mode of three-dimensional radiotherapy.


IMRT equipment helps to focus the x-ray beams that attack the malignant tumor from all directions with radiation. The intensity of each beam's radiation dose is altered according to each patient?s treatment plan.


?This precise equipment allows us to conform or ?wrap? the radiation to the exact shape of the tumor from every angle,? said Dr. Philip Schneider, Medical Director of Radiation Oncology at the Regional Cancer Center. ?The tumor is getting very aggressive treatment, while the surrounding normal tissues stay healthy, so there are fewer side effects with higher cure rates.?


Richard Hollinger, 75, of Dover was among the first to receive IMRT at the Union Hospital facility and is more than halfway through his treatments for prostate cancer.



Kelly Merten (left) a radiation therapist,

talking with Dick Hollinger of Dover. 

Dick is a patient receiving radiation

treatments for prostate cancer.


?I was told that this new treatment method would reduce the discomfort from radiation treatments, and things have worked out beautifully,? Hollinger said. ?I was surprised to learn that this advanced technology was available here in Dover, but it?s been great to receive these treatments locally and I?m confident that I?m in good hands.?


To complement the advanced IMRT equipment, the Regional Cancer Center also installed updated technology to further improve accuracy when preparing patients for radiation therapy. The equipment includes:


?        Digital imagers replace cumbersome x-ray films to quickly verify treatment positioning before each therapy session and allow physicians to fine tune the treatment based on the tumor?s exact location each day.


?        Dedicated ultrasound equipment in the treatment room ensures all image comparisons are ?apples to apples? such as ultrasound to ultrasound, rather than ultrasound to CT scan.


IMRT is currently being used for prostate cancer patients. In the future its use will be expanded to other hard-to-treat areas such as the head and neck, thyroid, lungs and breasts.


The Regional Cancer Center is jointly operated by Union Hospital and Aultman Hospital and is located at 300 Medical Park Drive on the Union Hospital campus in Dover. 


The range of cancer care services offered at Union Hospital also includes physicians from Tri-County Hematology and Oncology and surgeons within the hospital?s Department of Surgery.  Their presence at Union Hospital provides a wider range of cancer treatment options that, for many patients, includes some combination of medical oncology, radiation therapy, or surgery.



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