Smarter Radiation Therapy Techniques Enhances Personalized Care for Cancer Patients

Many new advances in radiation therapy are being offered at Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Greater Lansing to treat cancer patients with the best options available and less travel required. 

“Every patient’s cancer journey is customized to them specifically and will be different depending on the type of cancer, its size and location, and other factors,” said Christian Hyde, MD, DABR, radiation oncologist at Karmanos Cancer Institute who treats patients at both McLaren Greater Lansing and McLaren Flint. “Our goal is to provide every patient with an optimized treatment plan where we can deliver radiation with precision and accuracy, reducing the amount of normal body being treated. This spares critical organs and healthy tissues from unnecessary exposure.”

Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Greater Lansing is a part of the Karmanos Cancer Network,  one of the nation’s largest cancer networks, providing the best care and treatment options possible for cancer patients.

The new cancer center in Lansing opened its doors in February 2022, and with that came new technology and equipment, such as the Varian TruBeam™ linear accelerator, which allows the Karmanos team to treat many different types of cancers with pinpoint accuracy and precision using real-time imaging.  

With the use of state-of-the-art technology and other advances in radiation therapy, radiation oncologists can now also streamline the amount of treatment being given.  

Stereotactic Treatment for Prostate and Breast Cancer

Typically used for other forms of cancer, such as brain and lung cancers, stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is now being used to treat prostate and breast cancers. Through this process, stereotactic delivery uses sub-millimeter precision to image and align the targeted area and treat it with a highly-focused dose, in less time.

“Using stereotactic treatment allows us to treat the patient in just five treatments, whereas before the patient had to be treated daily for six to eight weeks,” said Dr. Hyde. “We are also treating a much smaller and precise area, so we are able to deliver a higher dose quickly, and the cure rate we see has been fantastic with over 95% in a five-year span.”

Lattice Radiotherapy

In November 2023, a radiation therapy method called lattice, typically done at large academic institutions, was introduced at the Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Greater Lansing. This is the first location within the Karmanos Cancer Network to use lattice.

“Lattice is a complex treatment delivery method and is useful for large bulky tumors,” said Michael Huberts, MS, DABR, medical physicist at Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Greater Lansing. “With lattice, we use a three-dimensional approach to precisely target the tumor by treating it in areas without affecting the healthy organs and tissues surrounding it.”

Larger tumors can be complex because they are often surrounded by other vital organs and healthy tissues. Treating the core of the tumor to a high dose with lattice, while giving surrounding tissues a much lower dose, helps the tumor to shrink more rapidly and the surrounding tissues to heal faster.

High-dose Brachytherapy for Skin Cancer

HDR brachytherapy is a form of therapy in which radiation is delivered inside or next to the area requiring treatment. With applicators designed and used at the Karmanos Cancer Institute, this therapy is now used for skin cancers. 

“This method has been used in other body parts for some time, but more recently now with skin cancers. We can use this technique in smaller, defined areas such as on the face, nose, and ears, with custom applicators that were specifically created by my colleague Dr. Hesham Gayar,” said Dr. Hyde. “Treatment is done in as few as seven to eight doses. It may be able to help some patients avoid disfiguring surgery to the nose, lip, and other cosmetically sensitive areas.”  

While a person diagnosed with cancer faces many challenges, bringing innovative care to Lansing helps patients get the care they need close to home.

“We’re able to treat our patients more locally and in less time so they can heal faster,” said Dr. Hyde.

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