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Cancer Treatment When Surgery Isn't An Option

December 19, 2012, 6:00 PM by Peggy Moyer

Cancer Treatment When Surgery Isn't An Option

A generous donation brings the newest in radiation therapy to Sioux Falls.

"It's with my pleasure that I am announcing the $4.2 million grant towards a $7.2 million project," Helmsley Charitable Trust trustee Walter Panzirer said.

Millions of dollars from the Helmsley Charitable Trust will help bring hope to cancer patients who face a harsh reality.

"There really are few things more difficult for a physician [than] to tell a patient they have an inoperable cancer and that there's perhaps nothing that can be done," Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center CEO Dr. David Kapaska said.

But now, Stereotactic Radiation Therapy is changing the game.

The difference between traditional radiation therapy and Stereotactic Radiation Therapy is a very concentrated, high-density dose of radiation is delivered right to the tumor.

Dr. James Simon demonstrates how the technology delivers radiation with surgical precision. It also has three dimensional radiation shields that customize the shape of the radiation beams to the tumor and better protects surrounding tissue.

"A tumor can be destroyed in one to five treatments as opposed to 25 or more treatments needed in low dose radiation," Simon said.

Simon also says Stereotactic Radiation Therapy takes less than a week to complete versus the traditional four to six weeks of treatment.

While this technology was initially used to treat brain tumors, it is now being used to treat a variety of other tumors in the lungs, spine, liver and gall bladder. It is also used to treat pancreatic and prostate tumors.

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