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Billings Clinic offers latest in cancer treatment technology

Posted at 1:50 PM, Jul 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-13 15:50:51-04

Fighting cancer can be a scary and challenging process, but knowing that your cancer team has the expertise and tools to help can make a big difference.

At the Billings Clinic Cancer Center, that means expert, compassionate care for cancer patients and families from a multi-disciplinary team. Physicians in coordination with trained oncology nurses, patient care navigators, social workers, dietitians, physical therapists, genetic counselors, and naturopathic physicians all work together to meet the individual needs of patients every step of the way.

And to help with all of that, they are using the TrueBeam system, the latest technology to make cancer treatments more efficient, more comfortable and faster for many patients.

“This is among the most advanced technology used to treat patients with radiation therapy,” said Breanne Terakedis, MD, a radiation oncologist at Billings Clinic. “It’s an upgrade to better serve our patients.”

TrueBeam is a sophisticated cancer treatment system that uses high-energy X-rays or electrons to deliver a broad array of powerful cancer treatments with pinpoint accuracy and precision. Based on patient needs and doctor recommendations, it can be used to treat a wide variety of cancers such as breast cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer.

It uses advanced imaging and treatment technologies to monitor and compensate for patient and tumor motion. In many cases, it can deliver treatments more quickly, meaning a patient might spend less time in treatment.

“It also gives our teams more accuracy and precision in delivering treatment,” Terakedis said.

A few key points on the TrueBeam system to keep in mind:

· It’s non-invasive. Treatments do not require surgery or incisions.

· It’s fast. Some treatments that once took 10 to 30 minutes can now be completed in just a few minutes, creating a more comfortable treatment experience that helps patients return to normal.

· It treats tumors with pinpoint precision thanks to a system which automatically synchronizes imaging, beam shaping and dose delivery, performing internal accuracy checks every ten milliseconds throughout the entire treatment.

· It can produce the three-dimensional images used to enhance tumor targeting in 60% less time than previous imaging technology. These images can be used to fine-tune a patient’s position before and during treatment.

· It can monitor the patient’s breathing and compensate for movement of the tumor during treatment.

· It was designed with patient comfort in mind.

· As with any radiation treatment, some people may experience side effects. Many people don’t experience any, but the possibility remains for effects such as fatigue and skin irritation. Side effects most often affect the treatment site itself but can extend beyond. Patients should ask their doctor what to expect from their specific cancer treatment.

TrueBeam is just one of the many resources available to the skilled cancer team at Billings Clinic. It may not be available to all patients, and you should consult your doctor to find if it is right for you. No matter the treatment, though, the Billings Clinic Cancer Center offers a wide range of services and can work to find the right plan for its patients.

“We have a strong, robust cancer program and we are fortunate to bring in the most recent advanced equipment and treatments,” Terakedis said.

For more information or to make an appointment, call 406-238-2500 or go to www.billingsclinic.com/cancer.

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