Revolutionizing Radiation

By Ben Wolf
Tuesday, January 16, 2007

At South Georgia Medical Center is a $3 million state of the art radiation machine.

"Outside of Atlanta, this is the only treatment unit that is similar and offers this type of capacity for treatment," said SGMC Oncologist John Devine.

In a sense the machine is revolutionizing radiation because it provides more bang for your buck.

"You can treat a tighter margin of error around the cancer and escalate the dose of the radiation to the cancer while minimizing the dose to the normal tissues," added Devine.

Since each patient's cancer is unique, this latest technology produces radiation beams that shape a specific tumor. The imaging is so advanced that doctors can make sure the highest amount of radiation is hitting the cancer rather than healthy tissue.

"It's incredible that a unit that weighs as much as this does in the thousands of pounds can rotate around the patient and maintain sub millimeter accuracy," said Medical Physicist Jeff Long.

Several computers are needed to make it all work, including one to shape the radiation, two that set images of the cancer and another to plan out three dimensional treatment.

"We should be very happy as a community that the hospital invested the money to bring this cutting edge technology to the citizens of the surrounding area," added Long.

Citizens that now have access to top notch health care right in their own backyard.

The Pearlman Cancer Center was established in 1995 and makes three oncologists available to the South Georgia Community.