The Latest Technologies for Diagnosis & Treatment
The Cancer Program at St. Joseph Hospital Eureka features two Elekta linear
accelerators using the very latest in radiotherapy technology to treat
many forms of cancer. Linear accelerators accelerate electrons to produce
high energy X-rays (photons) that are capable of preventing cells from
dividing. With the advancement of this technology, our radiation oncologists
are able to treat cancers never before treated in Humboldt County, helping
patients avoid lengthy travel times for treatment out of the area. The
following treatment options are available at St. Joseph Hospital Eureka
using our state of the art linear accelerators:
High Dose Rate Brachytherapy (HDR)
High dose rate brachytherapy is a form of radiotherapy commonly used to
treat gynecologic cancers. For selected cases of breast cancer, the MammoSite
catheter is used for treatment and therapy can be completed in just one week.
Low Dose Rate Brachytherapy (LDR)
Low Dose Rate internal radiation therapy involves the use of radioactive
materials inserted into body tissue in close proximity to the tumor to
deliver high dose radiation in a permanent or temporary application. LDR
brachytherapy is most often used to treat prostate and gynecologic cancers.
The New 64-Slice CT Scanner
St. Joseph Hospital Diagnostic Imaging introduces the "Cadillac"
of CT Scanners - delivering head-to-toe 3D imaging in less than 60 seconds.
Our new CT Scanner will better assist physicians in early diagnosis and
treatment by offering a clearer anatomical visualization and improved
soft tissue evaluation. This means a more comprehensive diagnosis in less
time - and with greater patient comfort. We at St. Joseph Hospital are
pleased to be the first to offer this leading technology on the north coast.
The Power of PET
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a non-invasive nuclear medicine scanning
procedure which uses positron emitting radioactive isotopes to show three-dimensional
functional images, reflecting an organ’s metabolism rather than
just its anatomy, as in conventional scanning techniques. PET is used
to diagnose and monitor cancer, in addition to diseases of the heart,
brain, and lungs. PET allows for the diagnosis of cancer and other diseases
in their early stages, yielding better patient outcomes.
PET/CT - the all-in-one full body scan
The newest diagnostic system for detecting cancer at St. Joseph Hospital
is called a PET/CT Scan -- the only one of its kind in Humboldt County.
It is a combination of Positron Emission Tomography (PET), which detects
cellular activity, and Computerized Tomography (CT), which reveals a cross-section
of body tissues and organs. In the past, difficulties arose from trying
to interpret the results of a CT scan done separately from a PET scan,
due to the fact that the patient's body position had changed. By combining
these technologies into a single device, the PET/CT Scanner makes it possible
to collect both anatomical and biological or metabolic information at
the same time -- during a single examination. This provides physicians
a much more complete and clearer picture of what is happening in the body.
This integrated information permits accurate tumor detection and localization
for a variety of cancers, including breast, esophageal, cervical, melanoma,
lymphoma, lung, colorectal, head and neck, and ovarian cancer. With the
help of a PET/CT scan, physicians can now detect cancers, as well as some
heart disease and brain disorders, at a much earlier stage.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Our Vantage MRI by Toshiba combines a compact magnet with noise-reduction
technology and ergonomic design to produce superior image quality with
greater patient comfort, allowing the patient's head to remain outside
the tube for most procedures. A new MRI technique called Parallel Imaging,
along with Toshiba's patented speeder coil technology, allows the
Vantage to capture images in a fraction of the time required by older
machines. The faster scans mean less chance of blurring from patient movement,
less repositioning during the procedure and less time in the exam room.
The Vantage also packs a full 1.5-Tesla field strength -- roughly double
the magnetic strength of most 'open' MRI machines -- providing
the top quality images needed for the most accurate diagnosis possible.
Because of its ability to image soft tissue, MRI plays a critical role
in diagnosing cancer. It can reveal the shape, size and location of tumors,
and it is used to monitor tumor growth, including malignant and non-malignant
tumors in the brain. MRI is even used to augment mammography tests for
Prostate Seed Implant Program
Through the development of the Prostate Seed Implant Program, a new option
in prostate cancer treatment is now available and is considered an alternative
to radical surgery or conventional radiation treatments. This technique
essentially treats the prostate from the inside out rather than from the
outside in. Decreased radiation doses to the surrounding normal tissues
may decrease both the short term and long term side effects.