It's never easy to learn that you or a loved one has a serious illness. And, learning that the illness is cancer is no exception. But we'd like you to know that cancer patient success stories are becoming more and more common. A comprehensive cancer care program, approved by the American College of Surgeons, is available in Meadville with the latest technology and physician specialists available. We have access to research and the most up-to-date treatment protocols. Meadville Medical Center is a member of the Association for Community Cancer Centers. We believe that cancer care is best delivered in a community setting.
Meadville Medical Center is committed to your total care and support. Our team of health care professionals are experienced in counseling and educating patients, helping them understand and cope with their illness and its treatment. We encourage patients to participate as much as possible in their on-going care.
A Team of Experts Who Care
Your care is coordinated by an interdisciplinary team of professionals including your family physician, surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, nurses, social workers and other support staff. Cancer care conferences are held on a weekly basis as a formalized review and discussion of all cancer patients. This is an opportunity for physicians to get input from other physicians on the treatment of cancer patients. Our physicians specializing in the care of cancer are board certified medical oncologists and board certified radiation oncologists. The new cancer center employs two oncologist/hematologists and a radiation oncologist, a physicist and a multi-disciplinary team consisting of registered nurses certified in oncology; a clinical protocol nurse; certified medical dosimetrists; registered radiation therapists; a tumor registrar; laboratory technicians; a pharmacist; and pharmacy technicians.
The nursing staff working with cancer patients has extensive specialized training. Registered nurses have been trained and are certified in the administration of chemotherapy.
In addition to providing the highest quality medical care, the professional support staff is prepared to deal with the physical, psychological and social consequences that may arise as the result of cancer or its treatment. Arrangements can be made through Meadville Medical Center to provide social workers and pastoral care staff for individual counseling, emotional support and information on available resources for cancer patients. Therapeutic dieticians provide private consultation to assist with special nutritional needs. Pharmacists, laboratory technicians, and others are also available to assist in providing the total care of our patients and their families.
State-of-the-art diagnostic services such as CT Scanning and PET Scanning are available on site to help detect cancer in its earliest stages and/or diagnose the extent of the cancer. The PET scanner is used primarily to 1) determine the spread of cancer in lymph nodes or other organs, 2) locate the primary source of cancer when it has already spread, and 3) evaluate the response to tumor treatment. The Meadville Medical Center Radiology Department provides magnetic resonance imaging, computerized nuclear medicine equipment, ultrasound and mammography. Another asset to the department is access to the mammotome procedure. The mammotome enhances a women's alternative for a chance of less invasive breast biopsies. With the mammotome, breast biopsies are less invasive and most patients may return to their regular routine post-procedure.
Meadville Medical Center and our physicians recognize the importance of early detection in cancer care. To supplement your annual physical examination we offer programs such as low cost mammography, periodic free screenings for cancers such as prostate and skin, and special educational program and/or material on many types of cancer.
Trilogy Stereotactic System
The Trilogy Stereotactic System from Varian Medical Systems is the most advanced, sophisticated machine of its type in the world. As the leading image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) system, Trilogy marks the beginning of a new generation of cancer care. The versatile Trilogy system can be used to deliver the widest range of external beam radiotherapy: 3D conformal radiotherapy, IMRT, stereotactic radiosurgery, fractionated stereotactic radiation therapy and intensity-modulated radiosurgery for cancer and neurosurgical treatments. Advanced imaging capabilities built into the system allow therapists to position patients for treatment with sub-millimeter accuracy, making sure the tumor is lined up precisely with the treatment beam before the beam is turned on. A respiratory gating system takes into account the tumor movement that can occur as a patient breathes, turning the beam off and on, so that treatment is delivered only when the tumor is stationary.
How It Works
At the core of the Trilogy systems is Varian's Clinac, the linear accelerator that has been enhanced for stereotactic applications that involve delivering higher doses of radiation to smaller areas over a shorter period of time. The system features an ultra-precise multi-leaf collimator (MLC), and the tightest isocenter, or beam focal point, currently available.
Prior to treatment, images of a patient's tumor and the surrounding anatomy are generated (using MRI, CT or PET scanning), and clinicians use this information, along with sophisticated analytical software programs, to prepare a detailed treatment plan. The treatment plan specifies the exact dose to be delivered to the tumor, as well as how the technology can best deliver that dose, given the three-dimensional geometry of the target and surrounding tissues. When the patient arrives for treatment, clinicians use Trilogy's advanced imaging system to confirm the exact tumor position relative the radiation beam, and make any needed adjustments before treatment begins. Some treatments, primarily for small lesions and metastases, can be accomplished in a single session, while other treatments require multiple sessions.
Through more precise targeting of the beam, radiotherapy may become more effective at treating disease while simultaneously reducing side effects of the treatment. Due to the increased accuracy and power, smaller lesions can be treated more easily and effectively.
State-of-the-art motion management techniques allow doctors to coordinate treatment with a patient's breathing patterns. During these treatments, patients can continue to breathe naturally, reducing stress and increasing comfort.
Radiotherapy can be used to treat more different types of cancer, which means that more patients can be spared the invasive techniques of surgery and/or chemotherapy.
The Trilogy Stereotactic System is the first linear accelerator that can deliver all advanced forms of external-beam radiation therapy. By allowing doctors to choose the most appropriate treatment modality for treating cancer--whether in the body or the brain--Trilogy ushers in a new generation of cancer care, in which doctors can provide the most appropriate therapy for a specific patient's case, rather than being limited by technology. With Trilogy, doctors have the option to treat small lesions using stereotactic radiosurgery, which is delivered in a single treatment; or stereotactic radiotherapy, which is delivered over a few days; or more traditional forms of radiotherapy, which are delivered in smaller doses over several weeks.
The Trilogy system incorporates the ability to position the patient exactly, using images of the tumor and surrounding anatomy taken just prior to each treatment. The images are used to verify tumor position immediately before the radiation beam is switched on. This care applied to treatment accuracy means maximizing the dose to the tumor, and minimizing the dose to surrounding healthy tissue.
The respiratory gating system automatically turns the beam off and on to compensate for breathing motion during treatment. With respiratory gating, the beam is switched on only when the tumor is within a known location. This keeps the radiation beam focused on the tumor, and further protects normal healthy tissues.
The Trilogy system and its accessories can shape a beam very precisely, with sub-millimeter accuracy. In addition to the precision of its beam, Trilogy offers the highest dose rates available, to deliver a potent punch of radiation in a short amount of time. This combination of precision and power allows Trilogy to reduce both treatment times and side effects.
The cancer center also includes a CT scanner and PET scanner to facilitate diagnosis and effective monitoring of treatment. Chemotherapy patients will have the option of receiving some of their treatments in privacy, or in a group setting so they can share their thoughts and experiences with others. The Yolanda G. Barco Oncology Institute offers a way of caring for patients that centers on convenience and compassion in a comfortable and pleasant environment.
A Whole-person Approach
At the heart of the whole-person approach to health and wellness, the Yolanda G. Barco Oncology Institute provides coordinated counseling and nutrition consultations as well as stress reduction opportunities in the form of art and music recreation therapy. An innovative keyboard program known as the Clavinova Connection, developed by Yamaha, allows patients with no musical experience to simply follow keyboard lights for specially arranged musical compositions. This musical "diversion" will help them relax and, as recent research suggests, reverse the DNA switches that literally turn on the human stress response.
Also available are services that promote "whole body healing" – massage therapy, Tai Chi, yoga, exercise classes, meditation, music therapy, acupuncture, nutritional counseling, pain management and support groups. Doctors say these lifestyle, behavior, diet, and overall wellness programs will help patients be more pro-active in their health and recovery.