IU Health's new 'state of the art' radiation machine brings world-class cancer care to Lafayette

A breakthrough in cancer treatments is right around the corner, literally.

Posted: May 20, 2019 9:25 AM
Updated: May 20, 2019 9:25 AM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)- IU Health Arnett is now home to a brand-new radiation machine that doctors say is 'top of the line.'

The basics of radiation are unchanged, but this machine is advancing the treatment process.

"I can do maybe about 20 percent of what I could before," said Rodger Brouwer. 

Rodger Brouwer received his diagnosis in October of 2018.

"Prostate cancer." 

Now, he's undergoing radiation at the IU Health Cancer Center in Lafayette.

"Every day for eight weeks," Brouwer said.

Despite the battle he's fighting, Brouwer is always lighting up the room.

He has stories.

"I was in the Navy and I was on a nuclear submarine."

Jokes.

"I think I got more radiation on there than I did here."

And a positive attitude.

"If you're not positive in this business I tell you, you're not gonna get far," Brouwer said.

A portion of his positivity can actually be credited to his radiation treatments.

"This is the newest machine in the IU health system. It is probably the top of the line this would be the best machine," said Dr. Orton, Radiation Oncologist at IU Health Arnett Lafayette. 

This brand-new machine is making giant leaps for cancer patients.

"This machine does a lot for patients," Dr. Orton said.

But how is this machine different than others?

It's the only machine in Lafayette that has a six degree bed, an optical surface monitoring system and certain advanced imaging technology.

"We can monitor and see how things move," Dr. Orton said.

Doctor Orton said nobody lies down in the exact same position every time, so tumors and cells can shift depending on the body's positioning.

"Things will move, such as a bladder when it fills it's going to change in size and shape, and if we plan on it being in one place we want to verify that," Dr. Orton said.

With the machine's new energies, he said he can assure a 30 to 40 percent decrease in treatment time. Maybe more depending on individual cases.

"There's some treatments where the time savings may only be five or six minutes. While that may not sound like a big deal, if you're laying on a table and you have back pain because of cancer, six minutes can make a huge difference," Dr. Orton said.

"I show up at 9:20 and I'm out the door at 9:31. So it's really, really quick," Brouwer said.

And the best part?

"I really don't experience many side effects," Brouwer said.

He attributes that to the new technology.

"It does allow us to damage less of the normal surrounding tissue. So it theoretically could lead to less long-term side effects," Dr. Orton said.

"Blessed," Brouwer said. "I mean it's great. This is something that is probably gonna save me."

News 18 asked Brouwer what his plans are once he finishes radiation. He replied, with a giggle, "Champagne."

News 18 wishes Brouwer the best of luck during his last two weeks of radiation treatment.

IU Health started using this new machine in January. The total project cost $4.2 million.

Doctors said since the machine speeds up treatment times, it allows them to treat more patients in a timely manner every single day.

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