CNN Food and Health

High Tech Scanner Shows Exact Position for Treatment

Aired Nov. 14, 1995
11:35 a.m. EST (1635 GMT)

Abstract : The radiation therapy unit at Johns Hopkins Oncology Center demonstrates how the latest technology, including a kind of virtual reality of a patient's pelvis, is used to treat prostate cancer.

Full Text:

JEFF LEVINE, Anchor: Here at Johns Hopkins, doctors have the latest in diagnostic and treatment tools. This is a radiation therapy unit and it is state-of-the-art. With me is Dr. Ted DeWeese and one of his patients, Mr. Charles Lafe. We appreciate your participating today. I think before we get into the mechanics of the therapy we should learn a bit more of how you site the tumor because this is pretty exciting stuff. You use what we would call a virtual reality technique.

Dr. TED DeWEESE, Johns Hopkins Oncology Center: Yeah, basically that's correct. When the patients initially come to us we place them into what is basically a sophisticated CT scanner, the most state-of-the-art CT scanner, that Mr. Lafe actually did go through which is hooked to again, a very sophisticated three-dimensional treatment planning device - all computerized. And that actually allows us to localize the tumor very precisely within the body, in this case prostate, as well as the surrounding normal tissues that are important to miss with our treatment.

JEFF LEVINE: Now this may seem like kind of a silly question but don't we know where the prostate is in the body? How much more precisely do you need to find out where the problem is?

Dr. TED DeWEESE: Well that's a very good question. The prostate is generally localized in the same place in most men but there's variations within centimeters or inches, depending on the man and even more importantly, the other surrounding structures that we want to minimize toxicity to, or radiation dose to, vary between people.

JEFF LEVINE: How tough has this been on you, Mr. Lafe, can you tell us?

CHARLES LAFE, Patient: It's been very, very easy on me. I have not had any- real easy- I mean good- any side effects whatsoever and I'm just getting along fine and I've been half-way through my treatment now.

JEFF LEVINE: And finally, what's the prognosis here? What kind of positive outcomes do you hope to have? What's the chance of having a good outcome?

Dr. TED DeWEESE: Well fortunately, Mr. Lafe was seen early in his disease course and diagnosed with very early stage prostate cancer so he has well over 80 percent chance of being cured.

JEFF LEVINE: Is this true of the typical prostate patient or not?

Dr. TED DeWEESE: Well fortunately, we're seeing much earlier stages of prostate cancer within the last, say, five or six years and that's fortunate. And as long as they're caught early we have a very good chance. If they, unfortunately, come later it's much- much- a grim prognosis.

JEFF LEVINE: So basically a positive picture?

Dr. TED DeWEESE: You bet.

JEFF LEVINE: Dr. DeWeese, Mr. Lafe, thank you for joining us.


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