November 27, 2012
A new technology has been brought to the Charlottesville area in hopes of improving the treatment of prostate cancer, and it's cutting edge stuff.
Craig LaMountain is the first patient in Charlottesville to be treated using this Calypso technology, a system that aims to remove some of the side effects of cancer treatment.
"I was diagnosed in August and when you first get the shock of knowing you have cancer you think its the end of the world. But then I got on there and I did some research and I found out what was going on and I found out this will be the best system around," said LaMountain, who suffers from prostate cancer.
The advantage of this system is that it allows doctors to localize radiation use, which minimizes negative effects on nearby body parts.
"The studies have shown that with using the Calypso and decreasing the extra space around the target that you are treating with radiation, you can minimize that. So, patients will have fewer side effects as they go through treatment and fewer side effects for years and years to come," said Dr. Sylvia Hendrix, a radiation oncologist.
Doctors say what they like most about this system is that it works like a GPS for the body.
"If the patient or the prostate moves for whatever reason, we get a notification. its like GPS saying you're off target. It gives us the opportunity to stop the patients treatment, re-assess, reposition the patient and allows us to continue the patients treatment," said Hendrix.
Ultimately, doctors hope to be able to use this machine for more than just prostate cancer treatment. They hope to apply it to breast cancer patients as well.
"I have a feeling i am not going to die from prostate cancer. I am going to die eventually from something but it is not going to be from this," said LaMountain.
It's all thanks to a new approach to treating a deadly disease, creating a whole new hope in the fight against the cancer.