Improvement in radiation treatment helping cancer patients recover

When 75-year-old Gordon Scherer became anemic late in 2021, he went to several doctors near his home in the Cayman Islands, looking for a cause.

It was ultimately a trip to Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale that led to an answer.

“On March 8th they did two biopsies and they came back and said you’ve got cancer and at that point, they put together a plan,” Scherer said.

The plan involved a new approach to treating the tumors in his prostate and rectum with a machine called Varian Ethos, which allows experts to do adaptive planning using artificial intelligence during the course of treatment.

“Adaptive planning basically means as the target, which is the tumor, changes in size, as it’s decreasing we’re able to target that specific area but minimize dose to other structures that could be at risk,” said radiation oncologist Dr. Vivek Patel.

The end result is that toxicity from the treatment is reduced while effectiveness is increased.

“The tech is so great because you’re destroying localized tissue area, so they’re breaking down cancer in my rectum and destroying cancer in my prostate without actually having to do surgery,” Scherer said.

Patel added: “When we’re treating structures in very vital areas such as the head and neck, or the brain or even within the thorax, there are certain areas where traditional surgery would be very morbid so now we’re able to avoid that morbidity and those side effects with this specific targeted treatment .”

Scherer recently completed 28 days of treatment which included both the Varian Ethos therapy and chemotherapy.

“With the right doctors and the right facility you can actually get the benefit of enjoying the rest of your life,” he said.

Although Scherer still faces additional procedures, he recently got word that the treatments so far have made his cancer undetectable.

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