The Lawrence Cancer Center is getting a new multi-million-dollar machine that will reduce the amount of time patients have to undergo radiation treatments. It also will expand treatment options.
“It’s great to be able to provide state-of-the-art radiation in this community that’s as good as anywhere else,” said Dr. Darren Klish, radiation oncologist.
The Lawrence Cancer Center, which opened four years ago, is located next to Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s Oncology Center at 330 Arkansas St. It sees between 15 and 25 patients daily.
On Monday, these patients began traveling 30 minutes south to the center’s Ottawa location to receive treatments because of construction process which is expected to take eight weeks. The process involves dismantling the old accelerator and replacing it with a new one. These machines are about 8 feet long, 8 feet wide and 6 feet tall. Then, a medical physicist will examine the new machine to ensure it's working properly.
Klish said, “We are coordinating with the American Cancer Society and other drivers to help patients with the commute to Ottawa. We understand that it’s an inconvenience but at the same time we are bringing a great technology to Lawrence.”
The new machine — called an accelerator — will enable staff to give radiation treatments in 10 minutes to 12 minutes, instead of the current 15 minutes to 18 minutes. These treatments involve giving low doses of radiation to a large area on a daily basis for two to eight weeks.
Klish said the center also provides radiation surgery, which is a process where they provide high doses of radiation to a small area. These are done in one to five treatments that last about 40 minutes, but with the new machine they will take about 25 minutes.
The upgrade also will allow the center to expand radiation surgery treatments to include tumors on the spinal cord and liver. Currently, patients have to seek treatment elsewhere.