Innovations in Cancer Care
Saint Vincent’s newest technology, the superDimension® inReach electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy, enables physicians to locate, test, diagnose and potentially treat a lung lesion even in the outer areas of the lungs. The superDimension inReach even provides the ability to detect lung disease and lung cancer before symptoms are evident, enhancing treatment options and survival rates for patients.
Helix Hydro-Jet Surgery
Reducing complications. Shortening recovery time. Minimizing trauma to the surrounding tissue. Increased accuracy and effectiveness. These are the benefits of Helix Hydro-Jet surgery, and The Saint Vincent Cancer Care Center is the only provider in the region to offer this capability. Another way Saint Vincent is connecting cancer patients in the region to the nation’s most cutting edge technologies.
When you are a prostate cancer patient at The Saint Vincent Cancer Center, it means that you receive your care from the regional experts in prostate cancer, and benefit from capabilities such as bracytherapy and cryotherapy, designed to reduce risk, pain and recovery time, while giving you the best possible clinical result.
Better outcomes. Greater quality of life. These are two reasons for choosing the cancer experts at Saint Vincent for cryotherapy treatment of prostate cancer.
The Saint Vincent Cancer Care Center works alongside The Regional Cancer Center to provide this innovative non-invasive procedure that allows doctors to treat cancer that is in areas that may not accessible for open surgery.
For treating colon/rectal cancer, there is no better choice than the cancer care experts at Saint Vincent, where doctors utilize Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery (TEMS). The procedure offers higher accuracy, and lessens pain and recovery time for the patient.
Endoscopic ultrasound allows for physicians to examine the lining and walls of the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract and nearby organs such as the pancreas, liver, and gallbladder.
The electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy transforms traditional bronchoscopy into a high-tech outpatient procedure. Electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy uses Global Positioning System like technology to navigate a unique set of catheters to a lesion deep in the lungs. The electromagnetic system guides and steers the unique catheters through complex airways beyond the reach of a traditional bronchoscope.
Helix Hydro-Jet Surgery for Liver or Pancreatic Cancer
- No trauma to surrounding tissue
- Reduced risk of complications
- Accuracy lessens potential damage to vital organs
- Minimizes bleeding
- Shorter procedure time
- Faster recovery from surgery
Throughout our region, patients in need of surgery for cancer of the liver or pancreas can benefit from the advanced Helix Hydro-Jet technology available only at Saint Vincent. This technology enables the removal of tumors with significantly reduced bleeding and trauma to the organ. As compared with traditional surgery, which involves the scalpel as the primary tool, Helix Hydro-Jet technology works like a giant water-pick, using a high-intensity fine jet of saline to gently lift away and remove cancerous tissue. Because there is no cutting, it helps preserve critical structures such as nerves, vessels and ducts. The Hydro-Jet procedure can minimize bleeding, reduce risk and discomfort to the patient, ease recovery and shorten hospital stay.
Saint Vincent is the only hospital in the region to offer the Helix Hydro-Jet alternative.
Back to top of page
Saint Vincent physicians pioneered the use of brachytherapy to irradicate prostate cancer. Brachytherapy, implantation with iodine-125 “seeds,” is an extremely effective treatment for prostate cancer. As the iodine decays, radiation is emitted. These radioactive seeds are placed near or in the tumor giving a high dose of radiation to the tumor while reducing the radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. Once implanted, the seeds remain permanently in the body. Fully decayed seeds emit no radiation and are harmless to the body. This procedure, available at Saint Vincent, is minimally invasive.
Brachytherapy is performed in an outpatient setting, and most patients go home the same day they receive their treatment. The seed implantation process takes about 45 minutes to one hour. By comparison, other treatment options, such as external beam radiation may require up to five treatment visits per week for seven to eight weeks.
Brachytherapy Patient Benefits
- No surgical incision
- Shorter recovery time
- Reduced risk of side effects such as impotence or incontinence
At the Saint Vincent Cancer Care Center, a variety of treatment options, are available to prostate cancer patients. From conventional prostatectomy to minimally invasive, cutting edge technologies such as brachytherapy and cryotherapy, patients and prostate cancer
specialists work together to choose the most appropriate treatment option.
Long time Saint Vincent urologist David Dulabon, MD, introduced cryosurgery for prostate cancer patients in our region in 2005.The procedure is performed in an outpatient setting under general or regional anesthesia. It is a minimally invasive procedure that involves no incision. Small needles are inserted into the prostate and argon and helium gases are used to freeze the prostate and destroy it entirely. Ultrasound imaging is used to pinpoint placement and application. The patient generally goes home the same or following day, as opposed to patients who receive radical prostatectomies, which require a brief hospital stay and a three- to five-week recovery.
When compared to radical prostatectomy, cryosurgery patients claim a greater quality of life. Research shows that patients undergoing cryosurgery have a low rate of recurrent cancer; 87% of patients treated with cryotherapy for prostate cancer had negative biopsies after seven years. Cryosurgical ablation of the prostate should not be considered as the primary treatment choice for all men, specifically not for men wanting to continue normal sexual function.
Cryosurgery can be used as first-line treatment in highly selected patients who otherwise would not be good candidates for surgery or radiation. Additionally, cryosurgery can be used in men who have failed traditional radiation therapy.
At the Saint Vincent Cancer Care Center, a variety of treatment options, are available to prostate cancer patients. From conventional prostatectomy to minimally invasive, cutting edge technologies such as brachytherapy and cryotherapy, patients and prostate cancer specialists work together to choose the most appropriate treatment option.
Radiosurgery is a medical procedure that allows non-invasive treatment of benign and malignant tumors. It is also known as stereotactic radiotherapy, (SRS) when used to target lesions in the brain, and stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) when used to target lesions in the body. It operates by directing highly focused beams of ionizing radiation with high precision. It is a technique which allows treatment by means of a precise dosage of radiation to intracranial and extracranial tumors and other lesions that may be inaccessible or inadequate for open surgery.
Radiation oncologists make use of highly sophisticated, highly precise and complex instruments, such as stereotactic devices, linear accelerators, the gamma knife, computers and laser beams. The highly precise irradiation of targets within the brain is planned by the radiation oncologist based on images, such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and angiography of the brain and body. The radiation is applied from an external source, under precise mechanical orientation by a specialized apparatus. Multiple beams are directed (collimated) and centered at the intracranial or extracranial lesion to be treated. In this way, healthy tissues around the target are relatively spared.
One of the most important benefits of TEMS is the accuracy of the procedure. Because TEMS is performed under magnification with an operative microscope, it is more likely that all of the cancer is removed.
TEMS benefits patients through:
- Shorter length of stay
- Shorter recovery time
- No deep abdominal incisions
- Lower risk of complications
- Accuracy of procedure
Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery (TEMS)
The Saint Vincent Cancer Care Center was the first facility in western Pennsylvania to offer cutting-edge TEMS technology for the treatment of rectal cancer. Saint Vincent is one of only 49 TEM-capable facilities in the entire United States. With the highest technology in cancer care in the region, there is no need for hours of travel.
TEMS is a minimally invasive procedure that allows the removal of benign or early stage malignant rectal tumors through the rectum without an abdominal incision. The procedure may also be used to remove recurrent lesions.
TEMS involves the insertion of a proctoscope into the rectum. The protoscope can be inserted up to 20 centimeters into the rectum, reaching points very difficult to get to by conventional surgical methods. Because it is performed through the rectum, patients do not have to recover from deep abdominal incisions the conventional methods require.
This significantly reduces length of stay and recovery time. TEMS patients usually return home within a day, and recovery time is typically only one to two weeks.
Conventional surgical methods require a six to ten-day hospital stay and a six- to eight week recovery time.
Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is a procedure that allows a doctor to obtain images and information about the digestive tract and the surrounding tissue and organs. During the procedure, a small ultrasound transducer is installed on the tip of an endoscope. An endoscope is a small, lighted, flexible tube with a camera attached. By inserting the endoscope and camera into the upper or the lower digestive tract, the doctor is able to obtain high-quality ultrasound images of organs. Because the EUS transducer can get close to the organ(s) being examined, the images obtained with EUS are often more accurate and detailed than images provided by traditional ultrasound.
When Is Endoscopic Ultrasound Used?
Endoscopic ultrasound may be used to: Evaluate stages of cancer. Evaluate chronic pancreatitis or other disorders of the pancreas. Study abnormalities or tumors in organs, including the gallbladder and liver. Study the muscles of the lower rectum and anal canal to determine reasons for fecal incontinence. Study nodules (bumps) in the intestinal wall.
What Happens During an Endoscopic Ultrasound?
A person undergoing an endoscopic ultrasound will be sedated prior to the procedure. After sedation, the doctor inserts an endoscope into the person's mouth or rectum. The doctor will observe the inside of the intestinal tract on a TV monitor and the ultrasound image on another monitor. The entire procedure usually takes 30 to 90 minutes and the patient usually can go home the same day of the procedure.