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HOSPITAL WEEK: Morris Hospital enhances cancer treatment services

Morris Hospital’s new TrueBeam cancer treatment system combines imaging, beam delivery and sophisticated motion management to accurately and precisely target tumors with speed.
Morris Hospital’s new TrueBeam cancer treatment system combines imaging, beam delivery and sophisticated motion management to accurately and precisely target tumors with speed.

Over 13 years ago, Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers made a commitment to providing advanced cancer treatment for the community by opening the Radiation Therapy Center on West U.S. Route 6 in Morris. That commitment was recently renewed through a $2.6 million investment that brings one of the most advanced cancer treatment planning and delivery systems to the regions.

Called TrueBeam™ from Varian Medical Systems, the system uses imaging and radiotherapy technology to destroy cancer cells with speed and accuracy while avoiding healthy tissues and organs. While TrueBeam was designed for complex cancers of the head and neck, lung, breast, stomach and brain, it also can be used to treat cancers of the liver and prostate, along with other cancers treated with radiation therapy.

“Our new technology gives physicians the tools to treat many different types of cancers,” says Liz Bates, Director of Imaging Services at Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers.

“For the patient, treatments with TrueBeam are faster and more accurate. The new system has also allowed us to expand the treatment options we can offer patients, even for the most challenging cases.”

Along with a new linear accelerator that delivers radiation treatment, Morris Hospital has a new GE 4-D CT scanner that’s used strictly for cancer treatment planning purposes, a new Eclipse cancer treatment planning software system, and a new oncology-specific electronic medical record system.

The cancer treatment system was funded in part by the community with proceeds from the 2016 Morris Hospital Auxiliary Gala and gifts to the Morris Hospital Auxiliary and Foundation.

During treatments, the linear accelerator rotates around the patient’s body to deliver radiation therapy from nearly any angle. Because of greater accuracy, radiation oncologists can direct higher doses of radiation.

The TrueBeam linear accelerator also has a sophisticated motion management feature that helps protect nearby healthy tissue and critical organs by synchronizing radiation beams with the patient’s breathing. That means doctors can treat a moving lung tumor as if it were standing still.

Another advantage of the system is faster treatment times. Whereas a standard intensity-modulated radiation therapy treatment with the original system typically took about 20 minutes, the treatment time with the TrueBeam is reduced to four or five minutes, a real benefit for patients.

The treatment team at Morris Hospital’s Radiation Therapy Center includes three radiation therapists, an oncology nurse, and a patient service representative, all who have been part of the program since it opened in 2004. Working with a dosimetrist, radiation oncologists develop a customized treatment plan for each individual patient.

Along with advanced treatment, Morris Hospital’s Radiation Therapy Center offers a number of cancer support services to the community, along with free transportation to and from treatments through the Morris Hospital Patient Transportation Service.

For more information, call 815-364-8915, or visit morrishospital.org/cancer.

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