MedWatch- CCMH offers breakthrough cancer therapies from Medwatch 7 KSWO on Vimeo.

LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 1.5 million people will be diagnosed with cancer for the first time in 2016 and just under 600 thousand people will die of the disease in the United States. With cancer being the second leading cause of death in the U.S., a number of different treatments are being used to battle it.

Comanche County Memorial Hospital offers Brachytherapy for some cancer treatments. It is a form of radiation that uses a very small source of radioactivity.

“The source is usually less than half a centimeter or half an inch in size and the source gives off radioactivity and it can be placed very close to the cancer or inside the cancer and it can treat the cancer and we can give a very high dosage of radiation to the cancer but save the normal tissue surrounding the cancer,” said Dr. Mary Leeann Smith, a Radiation Oncologist.

This forum of cancer treatment differs from the traditional treatment because it can be used on top of the skin or inside the skin.

“We actually place the small source right inside the cancer or very close to it and it doesn’t travel very far and so we save normal tissue. So we’re able to give the cancer a curing dose, a very high curing dose, and save the normal tissue,” said Dr. Smith.

Because the treatment is so focused on the area it actually limits the side effects to the particular tissue that’s being treated. Another way Brachytherapy is different from the traditional approach is it’s usually shorter than other cancer treatments.

“It goes very close to the cancer and so we’re able to treat the cancer and save the normal tissue. It usually…the patient usually not be treated longer than a week. We usually do this in one up to several treatments and usually not longer than a week as opposed to some traditional treatments with photons where they have to come for many weeks,” said Dr. Smith.

They’re using this form of treatment to fight multiple cancers like breast cancer and gynecologic cancer. Brachytherapy can be used three different ways.

“We can use it as the initial modality of treatment and that’s all we use is brachytherapy. We can use it in conjunction with chemotherapy. We can use it after surgeries. Sometimes, some cancers surgery is done and the patient has some high-risk features and they need some additional treatment, we can use the brachytherapy after that,” said Dr. Smith.

In other health related news, Comanche County Memorial Hospital is holding a lunch and learn on November 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. During this luncheon, Doctor Clint Kirk will talk about the only surgeon-controlled Mako Robotic Arm-Assisted Joint Replacement Surgery System here in South West Oklahoma. This arm assists him during partial knee and total hip replacement surgeries. If you’re interested in attending this lunch, the cost is just $5. You can call 580-585-5406 to reserve your space.

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