All posts by Darren Klish

5-session treatment plans for radiation SBRT Radiation treatment

5-Session Treatment Plans for Radiation

As technology advances, we find new ways to enhance and improve cancer treatment. At Precision Cancer Care we are bringing these new treatments to our patients in Lawrence, Ottawa and Chanute. Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy or (SBRT) is one of the latest types of radiation therapy that offers several advantages over conventional radiation.

Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy

Stereotactic body radiation therapy is a precise, high-dose form of radiation therapy that reduces the number of treatments as well as the duration of time the treatment plan requires. SBRT allows physicians to treat cancer in just one to five treatments, rather than multiple doses over many weeks. Treatment lasting approximately eight weeks or 40 treatment sessions is typically required with conventional radiation.

What Type of Radiation Is Stereotactic?

SBRT is a type of external beam radiation therapy that uses focused radiation beams to target a well-defined tumor. Many small beams of radiation are focused on a target (usually a tumor) and the dose of radiation is delivered to only the site where all the beams intersect. It requires extreme accuracy using detailed imaging, computerized 3D treatment planning and precise set-up to deliver this high dose of radiation to a specific area.

How SBRT Works

SBRT can be used to treat a variety of cancers including prostate, liver, lung, abdomen, lymph nodes, and spine. These sophisticated radiation therapy treatments are administered in 3-5 sessions of very high dose, delivered to isolated tumors. The high dose of radiation delivered to the affected area causes tumors to shrink and blood vessels to close off, robbing the tumor of its blood supply. These treatments are very focused because they result in the death of all cells within the targeted area.

SBRT Offers Faster & More Effective Cancer Treatment

SBRT has been shown to deliver dramatically better outcomes than conventional radiation therapy. For example, local control of stage 1 lung tumors treated with conventional treatment ranges from 40 to 50 percent, however the success rate for SBRT increases to 85 percent. This is comparable to success rates for surgery to remove the tumor, but SBRT has fewer risks.

Advantages of Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)

SBRT offers three main advantages. The first is that it can deliver a higher dose of radiation to the affected area. Because of the accuracy of the radiation, this higher dose than usual can be delivered without damaging nearby healthy tissue. This minimizes side effects and allows the treatments to be fewer and more effective. Secondly, since stereotactic radiation therapy doesn’t involve any incisions, it’s generally less risky than traditional surgery where you may have complications with anesthesia, bleeding, and/or infection. Finally, it offers fewer treatments in a shorter window of time making it much more convenient for the patient.

Obviously, getting five treatments versus 40 treatments is faster and much more convenient for our patients. Candidates for stereotactic radiation therapy include those patients whose disease is not surgically accessible or is too advanced for neurosurgery, as well as those who cannot tolerate anesthesia. While not everyone is a candidate for SBRT, if you are, Precision Cancer Care has you covered. People often travel to Kansas City because they are unaware that this extremely convenient therapy is available in Lawrence.

At Precision Cancer Care, we offer cure rates equal to NCI-designated hospitals, but with locations in Lawrence, Ottawa, and Chanute. For the latest in cancer care technology close to home, call us at (785) 749-3600, or contact us onlinehttps://pcc.health/contact-us/ to schedule an appointment with one of our board certified physicians.

Cancer care is whole-person care

There’s More to Cancer Care than Treatments

At Precision Cancer Care, we’re proud to offer the best in cancer care. Our cure rates are equal to those of NCI-Designated hospitals, but we offer cancer care at locations in Lawrence, Ottawa, and Chanute. Cutting-edge care is our first priority. But our care goes much deeper than that. We offer whole-person cancer care.

A Cancer Diagnosis Is the Beginning of a Journey

We understand that a cancer diagnosis is just the beginning of your cancer journey. While your physical health is our main concern, we know that your body is just one part of the whole person. A cancer diagnosis can take its toll on other parts of your life as well. It can affect your mind, emotions, finances, nutrition, and relationships. Those are all important aspects of your cancer journey because they ultimately affect your well being.

Whole-Person Cancer Care

We will help you navigate the waters. Our cancer support team is trained and experienced. They have the knowledge and the resources to skillfully guide you through your cancer journey so you can focus on getting well. Our whole-person cancer care covers more than your physical well-being:

Kindness

Patients repeatedly tell us how kind and caring our staff are. The top of our mission is to provide compassionate care. When patients are vulnerable, when they are tired, when they feel anxious, we meet them with kindness and compassion, something that can’t be replicated in a massive health care system. And we believe when you are struggling through cancer treatment, it can be the most valuable part of your care.

Stress Management

Stress is never good for your health. Unfortunately, a cancer diagnosis adds lots of stress, but not just in the obvious ways. It disrupts your sense of “normal” life. It adds fear and worry which steals your inner peace. Stress management is one of the services we think is critical to your health. Our cancer team can help offer you strategies for stress management.

One of the biggest advantages PCC has over the downtown hospitals is that we are close to home, so you don’t have to deal with traveling, traffic, parking, and walking long distances to get to your appointments. Staying closer to home can reduce stress, reduce time away from home for treatment, and increase time spent near family, friends, neighbors and other support groups. Getting care close to home also reduces the financial toxicity of traveling hours for your care.

Financial Guidance

Medical costs, insurance, deductibles, confusing medical jargon – it’s all confusing and stress-inducing. That’s why we offer financial guidance to our patients. Helping you decipher medical billing and coding, understand insurance paperwork, and letting you know about payment plans and options can greatly relieve the burden many patients feel on their journey.

One big advantage you get with PCC vs. the big downtown hospitals is savings. Most people don’t realize it, but hospitals are allowed by Medicare and insurance companies to charge more for the same services than doctor-owned practices and care centers. You will actually see savings by choosing a non-hospital provider. This is a pleasant surprise for most of our patients.

Nutrition

Getting the right nutrition can be challenging during cancer care. Treatments can cause nausea, trouble swallowing, lack of appetite, and other conditions that make it hard to eat. Our staff will help guide your nutrition to make sure you get the right nutrients to keep your strength up and your body ready for treatments.

Your mind and spirit are linked to your body and keeping them positive and hopeful is important in the fight against cancer. The better you feel, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically, the better your journey, and the faster your recovery will be. We know there’s a lot more to cancer than radiation and chemotherapy. At Precision Cancer Care, we focus on the whole person, not just the physical.

Cancer Care Close to Home

If you or someone you love is facing a cancer diagnosis, visit us At Precision Cancer Care for the latest in cancer care technology close to home. We offer cure rates equal to NCI-designated hospitals, but with locations in Lawrence, Ottawa, and Chanute.

Call us at (785) 749-3600, or contact us online to schedule an appointment with one of our board certified physicians. We hope you will choose Precision Cancer Care for your treatment and also consider us for a second opinion. Precision Cancer Care – Precisely Where You Should Be.

cancer care savings

The Insurance Secret That Can Save You Thousands in Cancer Care

Here’s a cancer care savings secret the hospitals don’t want you to know. You will pay more for your cancer care at a big hospital than you will at a smaller non-hospital based clinic. Is that because they offer better equipment, better doctors, or better cure rates? No. It’s because they are allowed, by insurance companies and Medicare, to charge more. There’s nothing illegal or unethical about it. It’s simply the way the system is set up. But virtually no cancer patients know this.

Get Equal Cancer Care with Significant Cost Savings

At Precision Cancer Care, we provide equal cancer care at about ⅔ the cost of the big hospitals. Because of deductibles, this directly affects patient out-of-pocket costs. This little-known insurance advantage can save you thousands. Hospital radiation therapy centers are allowed a  20-40% upcharge in the price of treatment (NCI-designated cancer centers are allowed to charge even more money). It’s perfectly legal. It’s just the way the system works.

Why Patients Pay More for Hospital Cancer Care

Because this is news to most people, let us explain in a bit more detail why patients needlessly pay more for their cancer care. The main reason is that they think they will get better care at the hospital. After all, the hospitals are always advertising how great their cure rate is, so it must be better care, right? Wrong. What exactly does better care consist of?

Do Hospitals Have Better Doctors?  

Our board certified radiation oncologist physicians at Precision Cancer Care treatment center received their training at NCI- designated cancer centers including MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Kansas Medical Center, and at other National Cancer Institute designated facilities. At our facility, you will also be treated by these skilled physicians, not a resident who is learning. Board certified radiation oncologists follow the same national guidelines for treatment planning and radiation dose prescription, based upon standards of care and the results of clinical trials, which means you will be getting the same treatment regardless of where you receive your care.

Better Equipment? No.

We use the same equipment as the big hospitals. Our photon therapy is extremely effective at targeting and destroying tumors. We have Electron Beam Radiotherapy, 3D Conformal Radiation Therapy delivered with photons and computer planning, Image-Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT) for precise targeting of tumors, Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) when we need a more complex radiation therapy beam arrangement, Stereotactic Body RadioTherapy (SBRT) and Stereotactic RadioSurgery (SRS) both of which can be used to treat tumors in the brain or body with effectiveness equal to surgical removal, without  the surgical risks of infection or anesthesia.

Better Cure Rates? No.

This is the area that is the most misleading. In the panic following a cancer  diagnosis, patients don’t consider the cost of care. They focus on survival – understandably. All they want to know is the cure rate. So big hospital marketing systems take advantage of that fear and anxiety in patients and advertise better or higher cure rates. Learn more here – link to Truth in Advertising page. Those promises are a false narrative – an untruth. We want you to know the truth.

What Doctor-Owned Cancer Treatment Centers Offer That the Hospitals Can’t

When it comes to cancer care savings, here’s something to think about. At Precision Cancer Care, we are proud to be able to  offer the same care and cure rates as the big hospitals at a fraction of the cost. We’re proud we provide these lifesaving treatments with state-of-the-art technology and board certified physicians. But what we’re most proud of is that we offer convenience and value the big hospitals simply can’t. 

Cancer Care That’s Closer, More Convenient, and Cost Effective 

At Precision Cancer Care, you get cutting-edge cancer care that’s closer to home, convenient, and more cost-effective. Large hospitals, driven by competitive administrators, are preying on patients’ hopes and fears, misleading patients about cure rates, which results in patients and their families driving further, paying more, and getting less personal care, often with residents who are in training rather than board certified physicians. We want you to know all the facts about cancer care savings before making a decision. You can stay close to home, get the highest quality of care, and it will cost you less at Precision Cancer Care. 

We know you have a choice when it comes to cancer treatment centers. We know you want the very best care. We hope this information will help you choose based on reality, not false advertising. Either way you choose, a hospital-based cancer treatment center, or our independent, doctor-owned cancer treatment center, we wish you the best in your cancer journey.

At Precision Cancer Care, we offer cure rates equal to NCI-designated hospitals, but with locations in Lawrence, Ottawa, and Chanute. For the latest in cancer care technology close to home, call us at (785) 749-3600, or contact us online to schedule an appointment with one of our board certified physicians. We hope you will choose Precision Cancer Care for your treatment and also consider us for a second opinion. Precision Cancer Care – Precisely Where You Should Be. 

Proton Therapy

Is Proton Therapy Better Than Traditional Radiation When It Comes to Cure Rates?

The simple answer is no. While proton therapy is as effective as photon therapy (traditional radiation that uses x-rays, or beams of photons), there are no studies proving it to be more effective. Couple that with the much higher cost of proton therapy, and it starts to raise questions as to whether all the extra cost is worth the nominal gain in reduced side effects. 

Studies Show Proton Therapy and Traditional Radiation Therapy Are Equivalent 

There are a few studies that have compared the results of the two types of treatment when it comes to being disease-free and survival rates. This was a study comparing the results when treating medulloblastoma (brain and spinal cord tumors). Here are the conclusions: 

“Disease control with proton and photon radiation therapy appears equivalent for standard risk medulloblastoma.”

Another study found similar cancer-free and survivor rates when comparing the two types of radiation therapy:

“Some experts believe that proton therapy is safer than traditional radiation, but there is limited research comparing the two treatments. Plus, proton therapy is more expensive than traditional radiation, and not all insurance companies cover the cost of the treatment, given the limited evidence of its benefits.

And proton therapy appeared to work as well as traditional radiation therapy to treat cancer and preserve life. After 3 years, 46% of patients in the proton therapy group and 49% of those in the traditional radiation therapy group were cancer free. Fifty-six percent of people who received proton therapy and 58% of those who received traditional radiation were still alive after 3 years.”

Proton Therapy Hype Vs. Price

There has been quite a lot of hype about proton therapy in the news lately. It is being touted as a great advancement in cancer care. I would argue that it is another way to fight cancer, and may have marginally reduced side effects in some patients, but when it comes to cure rates, unfortunately, there is no evidence so far that it exhibits any strong benefits over the traditional radiation therapy that we have been using for decades. It does, however, have one large drawback – price. Proton therapy is extremely expensive compared with traditional radiation therapy. 

How Proton Therapy Price Affects Cancer Patients

Because they are so expensive, the only entities large enough to entertain the idea of purchasing a several million dollar instrument like a proton accelerator, are large hospital systems. Something many patients don’t know is that hospital-based radiation oncology programs are legally allowed, by insurers and Medicare, to charge higher rates and facility fees. This results in a 20-40% upcharge in the price of treatment. 

NCI-designated cancer centers, in spite of receiving federal funds, are allowed to charge an even higher amount. It’s perfectly legal. It’s just the way the system works.

Same Level of Cancer Care for Less

By coming to any one of the three Precision Cancer Care locations, the cost of your care is significantly diminished compared to hospital-based radiation oncology facilities and without any sacrifice in quality of services. Plus it’s a lot more convenient! I just wish more patients knew this. If you can get the same level of care, be closer to home, and spend less out of pocket, you need to know that before deciding where to go for your cancer care.

We know you have a choice when it comes to cancer treatment centers. We know you want the very best care. We hope this information will help you choose based on real comparisons, not hospital marketing messages. Either way you choose – a hospital-based cancer treatment center, or our independent, doctor-owned cancer treatment center, we wish you the best in your cancer journey.

At Precision Cancer Care, we offer cure rates equal to NCI-designated hospitals, but with locations in Lawrence, Ottawa, and Chanute. For the latest in cancer care technology close to home, call us at (785) 749-3600, or contact us online to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified physicians. Precision Cancer Care – Precisely Where You Should Be.