Cancer treatment can take a variety of forms. Dr. Scott Anderson, the medical director at Anderson Regional Cancer Center, says that when it comes to radiation treatments, careful planning can go a long way.
"The way we plan is called inverse planning. We take our CAT scans, we define the tumor volume, and I go through and, slice by slice, I draw the critical structures that I don't want to treat," said Dr. Anderson. "The computer then runs three plans that do what I say.
Then it takes the best one of those plans and it runs three more plans; it does that a million times."
The simulator of the linear accelerator rotates 360 degrees to aid in radiation treatments.
"We use this to set up the external parameters of the treatment," said Anderson. "Next door we have a CAT scanner that we use to verify the internal parameters of the treatment so we know where the tumor is in relationship to the external marks."
Anderson says that manufacturers play a big part in making new technology available to his patients.
"We're an alpha test center for manufacturers," said Anderson. "So that means that our physicists and dosemitrists are here on the weekends shooting things into water phantoms learning how things work."
Anderson also says that he and his staff hold each other accountable when it comes to choosing a treatment plan for a cancer patient. And as technology continues to progress, he says that more and more patients will have a fighting chance when it comes to battling a deadly disease.
John Johnson, Lindsey Brown, Angie Barker and I are running in the Mardi Gras Marathon in New Orleans Feb. 13, to raise awareness about cancer and to raise money for the Anderson Cancer Patient Benevolence Fund.
You may donate to the cause online. A link is provided below. There is a line where you will need to specify that you are donating to John's run.
Or you may send the donation to:
Anderson Cancer Center
c/o John & Friends 2011 Run for Cancer
1704 23rd Avenue
Meridian, MS 39301