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New machine will improve cancer treatment

Posted at 5:50 PM, Jan 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-30 17:50:35-05

JACKSON, Mich. — A new cancer radiation tool could change the way the disease is treated.

Oncologists at Henry Ford Allegiance Health in Jackson tell News 10 it's a blessing to have it.

"I think what's blowing my mind is it looks like such a simple machine and it's really hiding the most advanced technology," said Dr. Annette Kretzler, Director of Radiation and Oncology at Henry Ford.

It's technology that could become a lifesaver for cancer patients.

"It houses both an imaging device where we can get a super high-quality CAT scan, and it also houses a treatment unit that's also able to deliver radiation," said Kretzler.

Those tools allow the Halcyon to target smaller, more specific areas of cancer tissue, tackling one of the biggest problems in radiation treatment.

"With radiation you have the cancer tissue and the normal tissue right next door," said Kretzler. "And you want to do everything you can to minimize the dose to the normal tissue."

The Halcyon isn't just one of the most advanced tools in cancer treatment, but it helps relieve patient anxiety with its environment, according to Kretzler.

"All of this is in a very appealing space," said Kretzler. "If you look at the ceiling...I mean it's beautiful and it really helps patients to settle down and be as relaxed as they can during radiation treatment."

It gives a clearer mind to patients, and a clearer image to doctors too.

"I've never seen such a crystal clear image like this before, and the bottom line is, the more I can see, the more precise I can be," Kretzler said.

He says the Halcyon could be a big step in killing cancer cells once and for all.

"I'm expecting that we'll treat more cancers even more effectively, and I expect we'll see less side effects from radiation."

Kretzler says thanks to the Halcyon machine, the radiation team will be able to adapt and change its treatment plan on the fly, and she says it will help to drastically speed up the treatment process.

It can also treat cancers more efficiently; patients will be able to spend only eight to ten minutes in the machine per treatment instead of 30 to 40 minutes.

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