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Abben Cancer Center adds new cancer fighting tool to arsenal

Abben Cancer Center of Spencer Hospital continues to uphold its commitment to provide state-of-the-art cancer treatment technology with the introduction of a new Varian Clinac iX linear accelerator for providing radiation therapy. The cancer center began treating patients with this new technology this week, completing an eight-month project which included construction and renovation of areas of Abben Cancer Center and installation of the $2 million accelerator.

"We are thrilled to provide this treatment technology to our patients," commented Kris VanKleek, Abben Cancer Center Director. ?This state-of-the-art upgrade makes it possible for us to treat patients with the most advanced radiotherapy techniques, using the most clinically efficient processes in the world. It provides us with unprecedented versatility and precision for customizing treatments according to the specifics of each patient's case.

 

Varian's Dynamic Targeting IGRT solution incorporates a robotic imaging system capable of real-time tumor tracking and automated patient positioning.

Radiation oncologist Dr. Donald Nordstrom explained: "Guided Radiation Therapy enables us to improve the precision and effectiveness of cancer treatments by giving us the ability to accurately track and adjust for tumor movements at the moment of treatment. We can create treatment plans with smaller margins around tumor areas, which enables us to deliver higher doses to the cancerous area while reducing the radiation dose to nearby healthy tissue, which only can translate into better tumor control and fewer complications."


The accelerator is located within a steel and concrete vault with walls ranging in thickness from 3.5 to 7 feet wide. The technology upgrade plus construction represents a $4.2 million project for Spencer Hospital. "We felt it was necessary to construct a second radiation treatment vault to house our new accelerator in order to prevent any disruption in treatment for our patients," explained Jason Harrington, Interim President & CEO for Spencer Hospital. "We were able to continue to provide quality care to our patients during the construction and installation of the new equipment, making the transition to our new technology seamless."

 

The cost of the new treatment technology was offset by a gift. The Spencer Regional Healthcare Foundation board voted to provide a half million dollars of support toward Spencer Hospital's expansion and equipment upgrade for Abben Cancer Center.

"On behalf of our entire Foundation board, I must say we're very pleased to support this project,stated Leon Rodas, President of the Spencer Regional Healthcare Foundation. "The Foundation has been able to fund several beneficial projects enhancing healthcare in our region; however, hands down our proudest moment comes from when we raised funds through tremendous community support to originally build and equip the Abben Cancer Center which opened in 1997." The center is named in honor of Ben and Tena Abben, who were both long-time supporters of Spencer Hospital and Ben Abben served as a hospital trustee for many years.

Harrington added: "We are grateful to the Spencer Regional Healthcare Foundation board for their continued support. Thanks to the Foundation and its many donors, we are fortunate to have Abben Cancer Center in our region, providing care to hundreds of people with cancer each year."