Tuesday, January 16, 2001

Accelerator packs more tumor blast

Mercy Anderson installs booster for cancer radiation treatment

By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Mercy Anderson Hospital has installed a new linear accelerator to improve radiation treatments for cancer.

        The new device, the Clinac 21EX Medical Linear Accelerator, plus the renovations needed to install it, cost about $2.9 million. The equipment is expected to be ready for patients by the end of January.

  • What: Open house to see Mercy Anderson's new linear accelerator for cancer radiation treatment.
  • When: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Jan. 24.
  • Where: The hospital's cancer center, on the first floor of the hospital's Medical Arts Building. Mercy Anderson Hospital is 7500 State Road, Anderson Township.
        “This is the most advanced accelerator of its kind,” said Dr. Thomas Morand, medical director of the Mercy Anderson Cancer Center. “This reflects the Mercy health system's commitment to being a leader in oncology care.”

        Linear accelerators treat cancer tumors by blasting them with high-energy X-rays. They are most commonly used for treating lung, prostate and breast cancers, often in combination with surgery and chemotherapy.

        Mercy Anderson, like several other Tristate hospitals, already has a linear accelerator. However, the new device allows more precise shaping of radiation beams than older models, Dr. Morand said. That makes it possible to hit the tumor with up to 20 percent higher doses of radiation while reducing damage to healthy tissue near the tumor.

        Typically, patients receive 20 to 40 radiation treatments depending on the type of cancer. The hospital predicts it will treat 20 to 35 people a day with the new machine.

        The new device, however, will not fully replace Mercy Anderson's older linear accelerator. Some cancer tumors can still be treated with the older machine because they do not require specially shaped beams, Dr. Morand said.

        The new device is the second local upgrade in radiation treatments for cancer to be announced in the past three years.

        In 1998, the University of Cincinnati Medical Center installed a $2 million “X-knife” linear accelerator that uses computer-guided radiation beams to treat brain tumors.

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