MRI: Guided radiation more precise than tradition treatment

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Doctors say a medical breakthrough in radiation delivery is ensuring they hit their tumor targets. It also means less toxicity to the surrounding healthy tissue. (KFSN)

Doctors say a medical breakthrough in radiation delivery is ensuring they hit their tumor targets. It also means less toxicity to the surrounding healthy tissue.

Attorney Ron Lowy was treated for prostate cancer with MRI-guided radiation. It's the newest radiation delivery technique. He said being inside the bore didn't bother him at all.

"When they would put me in the machine, it was so comfortable, I would fall asleep every time and they'd wake me up at the end of the session, an hour later," detailed Lowy.

"The images are spectacular," described Alan Pollack, MD, a radiation oncologist at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

While the 59-year-old napped inside the machine, Dr. Pollack and his colleagues used real-time MRI images to deliver the treatment precisely to the tumor.

"We're able to more directly visualize a tumor and make sure we don't miss it and to minimize the normal tissue that's being treated," Dr. Pollack told Ivanhoe.

Lowy needs a liver transplant. But he couldn't get one until his cancer was treated because anti-organ rejection drugs make cancer grow. After five MRI-guided radiation treatments, Lowy got good news.

"I'm cancer-free," said Lowy.

Now Lowy says his future looks bright.

"It means there's nothing holding me up from getting a liver transplant and I'm excited about moving to the next step," Lowy told Ivanhoe.

Dr. Pollack said the new MRI-guided radiation treatment is more expensive than conventional radiation, but he expects the cost to come down eventually. This system only exists in a handful of hospitals around the country right now.
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