Banner Thunderbird Medical Center to add more-precise cancer treatment

October 16, 2008

By hammersmith

[Source: Carrie Watters, The Arizona Republic] – Banner Thunderbird Medical Center this month will install a machine that makes radiation treatments more precise and less time-consuming.

The $3.1 million piece of technology also will save on trips to Phoenix.

The central Glendale hospital will be the first in the West Valley to offer patients
Banner is partnering with neurosurgeons from Barrow Neurological Institute of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix. The doctors will travel to Glendale to more conveniently provide this specialized treatment to West Valley residents.

In addition to the precise brain-tumor treatments, the technology will improve radiation treatment for other cancer patients.

The “latest and greatest” technology is more precise, said Robin Johnson, director of the radiation oncology department.

“It makes sure the tumor is receiving treatment and not the area around it,” she said.
It’s also a lot faster, which counts when lying on a hard table undergoing radiation treatment. Time should be reduced from 10 to 30 minutes to two to 10 minutes.

Banner provides radiation treatment to about 350 new patients each year and expects its cases could see a 10 percent increase with the upgraded equipment, which should be fully operational by January.

The equipment is called the Elekta Axesse machine, and Banner Thunderbird will be the third medical facility in the country to offer it.

This is the start of increased cancer-care options in the works at Banner Thunderbird.

The hospital, Glendale’s largest private employer, will open a 200-bed tower next spring. That opening should allow for reorganization of existing space and offer room for expansion.

“Our focus will go to growing cancer care,” Johnson said.