Technology helps lift burden

Published 8:04 pm Monday, January 14, 2019

Having cancer is hard enough on patients and their families without spending large amounts of time and money — which somehow seem to become more scarce and more precious during a cancer fight — on traveling back and forth to treatments.

So we’re pleased that another treatment option is closer to home for Suffolk residents.

Bon Secours announced in December that its Cancer Institute at Harbour View would begin offering stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotactic body radiotherapy. These types of radiotherapy are more precise, Dr. Bradley Prestidge told the Suffolk News-Herald last week, allowing better targeting of cancer cells while leaving more healthy cells untouched and causing minimal side effects. Radiotherapy damages the DNA within cancer cells and inhibits its ability to reproduce. This type of radiotherapy is perfect for smaller tumors in areas that are difficult to reach surgically, such as the brain and lungs, Prestidge said.

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This treatment also offers shorter time frames of treatments, so patients spend even less time and money traveling.

Financial problems and the stress created by them are a side effect of cancer that is not well studied but can be significant. The costs of medications, treatments, and missed work for the patient as well as parents, children or spouses are the worst, but the costs of traveling to and from frequent treatments adds up as well and is an additional burden a family shouldn’t have to bear at such a hard time.

Having this technology in Harbour View helps eliminate some of this burden for residents in Suffolk, Isle of Wight and other parts of Western Tidewater. It is another part of the journey toward having quality health care available for everyone in our area, and we appreciate the investment in our community.