In this new year, much is changing in healthcare: insurance, hospital partnerships, and even the way we look at healthcare. As a physician that cares for patients at what may be the toughest time of their life, it seems improvements in the healthcare technology we use have taken a backseat to other news. These technology improvements are essential in providing treatments that enable patients to live longer lives and thrive. In radiation oncology, we use radiation therapy in three rather unique ways. First, in the treatment of cancer. The exquisitely fine targeting of radiation beams delivers radiation therapy directly to the tumor(s) at brief intervals, every day for a few weeks. We kill cancer cells without harming healthy tissue, because improvements and breakthroughs in technology have made it possible.
Another important part of our practice is stereotactic radiosurgery, the delivery of radiation to areas that are difficult to reach by traditional surgery, or, in patients whose health makes them a poor candidate for traditional surgery. Many of the radiosurgeries we perform at Turville Bay are to reach intracranial (brain) tumors, both benign and malignant. Along with a neurosurgeon, a medical physicist, specially trained radiation therapists and a complex treatment plan, I perform stereotactic radiosurgery. To the patient, it can be life altering. Often in one single treatment using an incredible piece of technology we eliminate the tumor and the symptoms. There is no downtime, no traditional surgical recovery time, no hospital stay. The patient arrives at Turville Bay for radiosurgery, our team follows the patient’s highly individualized treatment plan, and the patient returns to daily life that day. We do recommend rest immediately following treatment, and usually a slight headache is the only side-affect. Life altering indeed.
Healthcare technology is somewhat costly. And the training needed to employ it is expensive and ongoing, as it is constantly being refined and updated. Yet today this technological healthcare delivery system allows us to conquer some of the most daunting illnesses we face. It’s something to celebrate, right here in Madison, Wisconsin.