Thanks to the generous support of donors throughout Muskegon and lakeshore, the Mercy Health Johnson Family Cancer Center (JFCC) boasts the “latest and greatest technology” for CT (computerized tomography) simulation for cancer patients, according to Mercy Health clinicians. Used by radiation oncologists, a CT simulator is used to determine the exact size, location and shape of a tumor in order to create radiation treatment plans for newly diagnosed cancer patients.
The advanced CT Simulator at JFCC was made possible entirely through philanthropic support from donors as well as the proceeds of third-party events, like the Sandy Corley Memorial Run and Cars for Cancer. (link leads to Facebook page.)
“With the upgraded CT simulator at the Johnson Family Cancer Center, we have an extended field of view and can get all the information in a single scan, reducing radiation exposure for our patients,” said Joe Reese Haywood, PhD, DABR, medical physicist, radiation safety officer, Mercy Health. “We are able to capture 20 CT slices (or images) versus 16 slices with one rotation, which is great for efficiency and speed for patients during the simulation.”
Scanning patients faster allows for more advanced treatment techniques, according to Haywood. “For example, breast cancer patients with cancer in the left breast are asked to hold their breath while we capture the CT. Because the total scan time is reduced, more patients are successful at completing the scan without taking a breath. If they breathe, that requires a rescan.”
With the faster model, the clinical team can further reduce the radiation doses to patients’ hearts and lungs, decreasing the potential for later complications.
“We can scan the patient and have the results analyzed by a physician before the patient even gets down from the table,” said Sara Jansheski, radiation therapist.
Other patient advantages of the new CT include:
- a larger bore or opening for patients, decreasing the feeling of claustrophobia for patients
- the machine is quieter than the previous device, which makes for a more relaxing experience
“This cohesive, focused effort from the Office of Philanthropy to support Radiation Oncology and our patients through streamlined resources wouldn’t have been possible had the JFCC not merged as a single location back in 2008,” said Angela Shepherd, clinic supervisor, Radiation Oncology, Johnson Family Cancer Center. “More than ten years ago, the Radiation Oncology departments, one from the legacy Hackley Hospital and the other from the newly formed cancer center at Mercy General Health Partners, the Mercy Campus name at that time, came together to form the JFCC on the Mercy Campus. Stronger together, since its opening, our combined unit has had access to top-of-the-line resources, like an electronic health record (her) and state-of-the-art equipment. The two locations were originally expected to compete against each other before the merger in 2008. As one center, we have streamlined our resources for great patient care.”
In addition to streamlined resources, the JFCC has been able to form strategic partnerships and programs with other organizations, such as the Road to Recovery with the American Cancer Society (ACS) for the past nine years. With Mercy Health providing a passenger vehicle through philanthropy dollars from the Office of Philanthropy, and the ACS supplying and organizing volunteer drivers, patients living in Ludington can access free, no-hassle transportation to their radiation oncology appointments every day.
From investments in equipment, support for the new programs, and much more, Mercy Health patients are benefiting from the support of our community. To learn more about philanthropy at Mercy Health Muskegon, visit www.mercyhealthgiving.com or call 231.672.6957.