The hospital recently invested $3.1 million to purchase new technology that can shorten radiation treatments from weeks to days.
When installed next March, it will be used to perform new techniques known as stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotactic body radiotherapy. Stereotactic means imaging markers are used to guide the beam of the radiation or the surgeon to the precise spot needing treatment to minimize the damage done to any surrounding tissue.
Why is it better?
For brain surgery, the new stereotactic equipment represents a major advance. Since we added neurosurgical staff to treat cases locally, the number of brain tumor patients treated at Baptist Health has tripled. This non-invasive treatment for brain tumors truly is a paradigm shift.
Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a highly precise form of radiation therapy initially developed to treat small brain tumors and functional abnormalities of the brain. It is now being applied to the treatment of body tumors with a procedure known as stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT).
The new equipment will provide an alternative to invasive surgery, especially for patients unable to have surgery and for hard-to-reach tumors close to vital organs. Besides brain tumors, it can be used to treat tumors throughout the body, including lung, liver, spine, prostate and head and neck.
It is the most advanced technology available anywhere, and it will be here in Paducah. Oftentimes local patients travel out-of-state for treatment, but this new treatment will allow them to stay close to home.
New cancer center
This treatment will become part of a comprehensive all-under-one-roof Regional Cancer Care Center at Baptist Health Paducah. Baptist Health treats about 1,200 patients a year, including about 110 outpatients daily for radiation and chemotherapy.
To meet the growing need, Baptist Health Paducah announced recently its 2015 plans to develop the cancer center. It already has retained an architect, made site visits to other cancer centers and conducted focus groups with physicians and patients to determine their needs for a new center.
Preliminary plans call for the center to be developed adjacent to the current radiation therapy area on the northeast end of the campus on the Broadway side. It will bring together radiation therapy, outpatient chemotherapy, lab, rehabilitation, research, education resources, palliative care, dietary counseling, complementary medicine and retail space – with nurse navigators to assist patients and their families as they go from diagnosis through treatment.
Nov. 20 informational meeting
The public is invited to an informational meeting to ask questions and hear more details about the center at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, in the Baptist Heart Center auditorium. At 7 p.m., details will be provided on an expansion of our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
If you have any health questions, talk to a nurse 24/7 at Baptist Health Line: 270.575.2918.
- Neurosurgeon Thomas Gruber, MD