New local technology helps accurately pinpoint cancerous cells
Frenchie Gilliam has big plans - a Hawaiian vacation and watching her great-granddaughter grow up.
But earlier this year, an esophageal cancer diagnosis left her unsure about her future.
"When they did the pet scan, it had already spread to my liver and I was stage 4," says Gilliam.
She couldn't undergo chemo because of the harsh side effects so she and her doctors explored an alternative treatment.
"I know longer have any signs of cancer in that area on my liver which is amazing."
She received ten treatments on the Novalis TX Linear Accelerator. It's designed to pinpoint the affected area with a laser, without harming surrounding healthy tissue.
"There are some add-on features of this machine. One being very, very accurate. Number two, it's very fast.," explains Dr. Roscoe Chan, Gilliam's Radial Oncologist at CHRISTUS Health Shreveport-Bossier.
Dr. Chan says real-time tracking helps to ensure the radiation is as accurate as possible.
"While the radiation beam is on, I can still see where the tumor is. If the tumor is out of range, I can readjust. I can stop the treatment right away, readjust and continue on."
He says one of the main benefits of using the Linear Accelerator is that surrounding tissue is spared from unnecessary treatment.
"If you try to hit a target, if you shoot a big enough area, you always hit it. But then you end up treating so much more normal tissue, causing normal tissue damage."
Not only that, Dr. Chan says patient survival rate can be also be improved.
"We know everytime we hit it, we're right on."
That's welcome news for Gilliam, who's ready to start the next chapter of her life.
"I'm very optimistic. I'm gonna be around a long time."
Gilliam says she's still being treated for a small lesion on her espohagus. She'll receive twenty treatments for that on the linear accelerator machine.
The Linear Accelerator is just one of the newest in a long list of technologies that serves to make Shreveport a medical destination.
The Heart and Vascular Institute at Willis Knighton Medical Center just unveiled its hybrid room to improve heart care for patients.
The room integrates a surgical operating area, allowing interventional cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons to cooperate on procedures for patients that need advanced minimally invasive surgery, as well as more complex procedures.
And over at LSU Health Shreveport, the facility now has the world's smallest microscope, the Cellvizio.
Smaller than the tip of a pen, the Cellvizio helps doctors detect potential lung cancers and other diseases at the earliest stages without surgery.
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