LAYTON -- Mary Mower of Syracuse was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010.
And, after hearing about a new technology for treatment, she chose to be treated at Davis Hospital.
"I had read about (the new technology) in a magazine and thought it would be really nice to have it in our state," she said. "I was surprised to learn it was right here in my backyard."
The new technology, called TomoTherapy, at Davis Hospital and Medical Center is targeting cancer cells more precisely and causing fewer side affects than traditional radiation.
TomoTherapy accurately locks in on the tumor to be treated and delivers radiation to that area while avoiding normal tissue and organs, said Dr. Robert A. Harris, a radiation oncologist at the hospital.
Mower said she has had both traditional radiation and TomoTherapy. She said while radiation isn't pleasant by any means, the side effects were less harsh from the TomoTherapy.
"I'm doing really well now and I'm in remission. I had the treatments from October to November," she said. "And not only did the hospital have the latest technology, they had very educated workers. They made me feel comfortable and were caring and compassionate."
"TomoTherapy will do a quick CT scan of the area to be treated, creating a three dimensional view of the target region," Harris said. "Using this information, the patient is perfectly aligned and their tumor is accurately locked on target, each and every day prior to treatment."
The machine then rotates around the patient selecting the optimum combination from among the thousands of available treatment beams. The beams converge on the tumor, encompassing it in a conformal fashion, while missing the adjacent critical normal tissues, Harris said.
"TomoTherapy has the ability to encompass any size or shape tumor, simultaneously target multiple tumors located throughout the body and treat separate areas to different doses, as appropriate," he said. "This opens a wealth of treatment opportunities for patients that previously were unavailable."
Harris said because of the technology's improved accuracy and precision, some tumors are able to be eliminated in as few as one to five treatments.
"And we are often able to re-treat many recurrent cancers that were previously treated using older techniques," he said. "TomoTherapy can accurately avoid organs that we want to protect. We can treat the pancreas while avoiding the kidneys. We can treat head and neck cancers without destroying salivary function."
Harris said a typical treatment takes about 10 to 20 minutes each time and anyone who needs radiotherapy as part of their cancer treatment is eligible. In addition, Harris said, Davis Hospital is the only hospital in the Northern Utah to have TomoTherapy.