Cutting edge cancer treatment at SW Medical Center

Lawton_The Southwestern Medical Center has a new tool in the fight against cancer.  The cutting edge technology is called "Image Guided Radiation Therapy" - it's a new spin on traditional cancer treatments and it's available in Lawton.  The medical center had their big unveiling Thursday of the machine that could help save hundreds of lives.

It set the hospital back over $3M, but they say it's worth it to have a hire recovery rate for their patients.  It looks like something from a science fiction movie, but it's real.  Marilyn Morgan things the IGRT is great.  She's been undergoing radiation therapy for the last few months and her first time using the machine was Wednesday.  The IGRT uses CAT scans and digital imaging to more accurately locate where the cancer is.  It then pinpoints the tumors and tracks them while they move.

Medical Director of Radiation Oncology Dr. Troy Richards says the older machines couldn't do that.  "We can actually track that tumor through the movement in 3D space and really treat it and not miss," he says.  "So we don't have to make our fields very big anymore."  That means the surrounding tissue won't get unnecessary radiation.  "This allows us to give a better cancer treatment," says Richards.

Dr. Richards says Southwestern Medical Center is one of only a handful of hospitals in the state to have this technology and that now he's getting a lot of patient referrals from Oklahoma City.  "Radiation is a daily treatment, Monday through Friday, and it can be very hard on patients, especially the way gas is now," he says.  "You have to travel everyday, back and forth for 6 weeks.  It's not realistic for a lot of patients."  It makes this is even more convenient for local cancer patients.

It's a reality for Morgan, though.  The doctors say her treatments are working.  "It makes me feel good to think the cancer's gone," she says.

The IGRT is the only one of it's kind in Southwest Oklahoma and with the increased accuracy in treatment, the hospital says they will have higher cure rates.