Colorado Seeking a Better Way to Treat Cancer
Written By: Brenda (B.K.) Walker
One of the biggest drawbacks clinicians face in treating most types of cancer is...if the cancer doesn't kill you, the just treatment might. For decades, researchers have worked tirelessly in an effort to find treatments for cancer that limit the damage to healthy organs and tissue while exterminating the diseased area. Cancer patients have faced miserable, debilitating side effects of many cancer treatments that break down the body's immune system, leaving the patient vulnerable to other forms of infection and disease.
But, imagine walking into a building, what appears to be your average medical treatment center, only to discover that the building itself, is the treatment.
That's right. Colorado researchers are hoping to extend a form of life-saving cancer treatment that has been used in both Japan and Germany, with alarmingly positive results. The "carbon ion radiotherapy treatment" has never been used in the United States, but Jac Nickoloff, head of the Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences Department at Colorado State University, hopes to bring the treatment to Colorado through a collaborative effort with The University of Colorado Cancer Center.
"Unlike X-rays or photon radiation, which are the most common forms of radiation treatments, carbon ions do not travel through the tumor, so they don't damage the areas behind it. And they don't deliver their full impact until they reach the target, so they do less damage as they enter the body."
A treatment room used for carbon ion radiotherapy in Japan
The treatment provides greater targeting potential in exterminating tumors with less damage to uninfected tissues and organs, as well as it has fewer overall side effects. Less damage to healthy organs and tissues offers greater opportunity for positive treatments in areas such as the prostate, spinal cord, brain, head, and neck.
"'This [technology] is about the size of a large building and it's quite an expensive piece of machinery," says Nickoloff."
Read more of the story and find out how Coloradans can be screened for the opportunity to travel to Japan for this treatment: Researchers hope to bring cutting-edge cancer treatment to Colorado
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