Published on April 10, 2019

New Technology Advances Cancer Treatment Capabilities Locally

Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) is now available at the Cancer Center at MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena. This advanced treatment technique administers high doses of radiation by using multiple beams at various intensities, aimed at different angles, to precisely target a patient’s cancerous tumor. Typically, this treatment therapy is used to treat small, well-defined tumors in early-stage lung cancer patients who may not be able to tolerate traditional surgery.

Photo of Radiation Oncologist Mario Lacerna, M.D., located at MidMichigan Medical Center - Alpena.

Radiation Oncologist
Mario Lacerna, M.D.

“SBRT is a great alternative for lung cancer patients who aren’t surgical candidates,” said Radiation Oncologist Mario Lacerna, M.D. “The cure rates are comparable to surgical resection, and the treatment is generally well-tolerated by patients.”

The treatment is usually done in three to five sessions, with each one taking approximately 30 minutes. Prior to treatment, an advanced imaging technique such as a CT or MRI is used to precisely map the tumor’s location and position within the body. These images are then used to design a plan that determines the SBRT’s beam intensity and positioning. The radiation is then administered directly to the tumor, without affecting other organs or parts of the body.

“In the last decade, we’ve seen survival rates rise 20 percent in elderly patients with early stage non-small cell lung cancer who’ve received SBRT treatment,” said Dr. Lacerna. “We’re thrilled to be able to offer this new technology to patients throughout northern Michigan, so they can continue to have their cancer care close to home.”

Those interested in learning more about MidMichigan’s comprehensive cancer care program, may visit www.midmichigan.org/cancer.