Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) at HaysMed Reduces Travel and Treatment Time for Patients Receiving Radiation Treatments
Hays, Kansas (Nov 2, 2017) – When Larry Dreiling learned he was a good candidate for a specialized form of radiation treatment, he thought it might entail traveling to Kansas City. But much to his “surprise and relief,” the treatment is available close to home at the Dreiling Schmidt Cancer Institute at HaysMed, part of The University of Kansas Health System.
Dreiling, a 62-year-old Catherine resident, was originally diagnosed with kidney cancer in December 2009 and had a nephrectomy in February of the following year. In August of this year, an MRI detected a brain lesion and Dreiling was referred for Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS). This one-time radiation procedure, which was performed Sept. 14, uses extremely precise, high-power radiation.
“If HaysMed didn’t have this, I would have had to travel to The University of Kansas Hospital,” Dreiling said. “It would have taken about 4-and-a-half hours to drive there.
“Instead, I got up in the morning and the drive was only 15 minutes,” he continued. “This was a lot nicer – much less stress.”
The procedure took about an hour and 15 minutes. “There were no new side effects, except maybe a slight increase in the headaches,” Dreiling noted. “I don’t think the radiation held me back from doing anything. I took that afternoon off after the treatment but returned to work the following morning.”
Dreiling is a contract pumper in the oilfield, traveling throughout Ellis County to check the status of wells and tanks. Prior to the SRS treatment, he said there were “lots and lots of x-rays and lots and lots of planning on the part of the cancer institute staff. They had to ensure this high-dose radiation would be in the exact right spot.”
Dreiling noted he is “very thankful to Dr. Babu Prasad and Dr. Robert Rodriguez who go above and beyond. And they have an awesome staff that does the same.”
Leo Elms, dosimetrist/operations manager at Dreiling Schmidt, said that SRS is commonly used in the treatment of small metastatic brain lesions. “In the past, treatment for these types of tumors would entail treating the entire brain,” Elms said. “All the normal brain tissues would receive the same radiation dose as the tumor. But SRS zeroes in on the tumor, without affecting other tissues.” The process involves devising a computer plan that fulfills the oncologist’s prescription for radiation and stays within all the normal tissue dose constraints.
Elms also noted that the term “radiosurgery” is a bit misleading. “When people hear ‘radiosurgery,” they may think an incision is involved. However, there are no incisions made in the body with SRS,” he explained. “The radiation is precisely delivered with surgical accuracy. In addition, the procedure is minimally invasive and there are significantly fewer complications than with actual surgery. This type of treatment is optimal for our patients because the entire course is only one treatment. This saves time and significantly reduces travel and stress.”
SRS is a very complex treatment that requires the expertise of many staff members in the radiation oncology department. The team consists of a Medical Physicist, Medical Dosimetrist, Radiation Therapist, Nurses, and support staff. SRS would not be possible without the unique roll that each person brings to the table to treat these patients.
“We take great pride knowing we are offering the same or better care as many other larger cancer centers.” said Elms. “We are so fortunate to have the resources at HaysMed to provide this level of care for our patients in Western Kansas.”