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Published on October 25, 2009

Mercy adds new cancer fighting tool to its Regional Cancer Center

CEDAR RAPIDS - Mercy Medical Center , 701 10th St. SE , has added another state-of-the-art tool to its cancer-fighting arsenal at the Mercy Regional Cancer Center. Doctors have begun treating patients with the Varian Trilogy linear accelerator. The Trilogy accelerator includes Dynamic Adaptive Radiotherapy (DART) and, combined with a state-of-the-art computer planning system, provides the latest advancement in image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT). The technology allows for personalized cancer treatment, delivering the right dose to the right place at the right time, regardless if the tumor moves, shrinks or changes shape.

Lung cancer patients or those with other tumors in the chest may benefit most from DART, which can cycle the radiation beam on and off during treatment to account for breathing, and real time organ motion. This occurs with an on-board imaging device to visualize internal organs and an infrared motion detection system.

"With the new Trilogy linear accelerator, complex treatment is made simple, quick and precise, which makes the experience more comfortable and less burdensome for patients," says Kevin Murray, MD, one of three board-certified radiation oncologists at Mercy's Regional Cancer Center. "The technology also allows us to use 3-D stereotactic radiosurgery techniques to give large radiation doses to extremely tiny areas, such as tumors in the brain or near the spinal cord, over a shortened time period. It's an amazing tool that complements Mercy's other two existing high energy x-ray linear accelerators."

In addition to the Trilogy system, Mercy utilizes a Varian 21EX accelerator and the area's only TomoTherapy Hi Arc accelerator. All three accelerators have the capability to provide intensity modulated radiation therapy to precisely deliver the radiation where it is needed.

Mercy is the only hospital in Cedar Rapids that has achieved Comprehensive Community Cancer Center Accreditation by the American College of Surgeons, Commission on Cancer (ACoS- CoC), demonstrating excellence in cancer prevention/screening, treatment, research, education and supportive care. Only 20% of hospitals achieve this designation, yet 70% of all cancer care nationally is delivered at these institutions.