UTHSCT dedicates new suite for cutting-edge lung cancer treatment and new Outpatient Surgery Center

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A sophisticated radiation treatment that attacks lung cancers as small as a grain of rice is now available to East Texans at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler.

Pulmonary brachytherapy offers hope to patients with lung cancer, which is the No. 1 cancer killer in the United States, killing more people than breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined.

UT Health Science Center at Tyler dedicated its new pulmonary brachytherapy suite and its new Outpatient Surgery Center at an open house held Tuesday, Jan. 27, on the UTHSCT campus.

Pulmonary brachytherapy is a cutting-edge technique in which tiny cancerous tumors located in the edges of the lungs are zapped by high doses of radiation.

UT Health Science Center and a facility in Heidelberg are the only two places in the world that couple pulmonary brachytherapy with electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy – a global positioning system (GPS)-like technology – thus allowing high-dose radiation to be guided directly to these tiny lung tumors.

Because the radiation is delivered to the tumor, it provides patients with prompt relief while reducing damage to healthy lung tissue.

Pulmonary brachytherapy also can treat lesions or tumors that obstruct the airways, allowing people to breathe easier even if they are not well enough to undergo the rigors of open chest surgery.

UTHSCT President Dr. Kirk A. Calhoun and Ted McLemore, MD, Ph.D., director of interventional pulmonology at UTHSCT, spoke briefly at the beginning of the open house for invited guests.

Tours of both the pulmonary brachytherapy suite and the Outpatient Surgery Center also were available.

For 60 years, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler has provided excellent patient care and cutting-edge treatments, specializing in pulmonary disease, cancer, heart disease, primary care, and the disciplines that support them. With an operating budget of more than $125 million and biomedical research funding that exceeds $10 million annually, UTHSCT has a major economic impact on East Texas. Its two medical residency programs – in family medicine and occupational medicine – provide doctors for many communities in East Texas and beyond.

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