The Farmington-San Juan Regional Medical Center has expanded its library of services and technologies, reopening a cancer center with advanced treatment capabilities and a robotic surgery system.
Administrators say the cancer center now offers a level of service previously unavailable in the region, and the surgical system can help general surgery and urology patients heal faster because it’s less invasive than standard surgery.
The hospital said in a recent press release that the San Juan Regional Cancer Center has reopened “with new and advanced technologies to treat the smallest cancers we could not previously treat at home.”
“The $5 million investment includes a CT scanner and linac working in tandem,” spokeswoman Laura Werbner said in a press release.
The CT scanner pinpoints the exact location of the tumor “and then sends that information to a linear accelerator, a type of radiation therapy machine, for precise treatment,” according to the press release.
“We didn’t have this technology before. So, we’ll be able to treat the smallest tumors that can exist on nerves,” said Troy Fuhrman, director of the San Juan Regional Cancer Center. “It’s an amazing treatment. Very precise. Before we had to send some patients to Mayo for treatment. The technology has come a long way, and now we’re going to have it in San Juan County.”
Forman told the Daily Times that he and hospital staff are humbled by the level of support San Juan County has given the cancer center and are grateful to be able to provide advanced cancer care in the Four Corners area.
Construction work on the center’s restart officially began around Memorial Day weekend, and the center is now in a soft opening phase and welcoming patients, Fuhrman said.
A new oncologist is expected to join the staff around December.
The staff includes three therapists and Chelsea Paige Robertson, a medical physicist with the Colorado Society of Medical Physics, who says they are “our safety barrier,” maintaining the treatment system and approving treatment plans to ensure the right parts of the body. is receiving treatment.
The radiosurgery system provides precise treatment, which the hospital says helps preserve healthy tissue around the treated area. In addition, it “may provide treatment in fewer courses—for some cancers, as little as two weeks,” the release said.
“Fatigue from chemistry and radiation is astronomical. So how exciting is it to go from 8 weeks to 10 weeks to just 2 weeks?” said Deb Albin, registered nurse and cancer navigator. “We will be able to do more and shorten the treatment time, which is very beneficial for our patients.”
The new device uses lasers and 4D imaging to “specially and accurately locate and image the area to be treated,” the release said. The simulator also includes a respiratory gating system that detects and monitors breathing so tumors move even when someone is breathing and radiation therapy will be adjusted accordingly.”
SJRMC is one of the first hospitals in the western United States to adopt the new technology, according to the press release.
The linac, known as the Varian Edge Radiosurgery System, provides stereotactic radiation therapy. “It’s a ‘network knife’ that can precisely treat the smallest tumors from many different angles at the same time,” the release said.
Robotic surgery joins the lineup
Following industry trends, SJRMC purchased a robotic surgery system to provide higher magnification for doctors who are still performing surgery as the machine translates hand movements into precise movements.
The medical center said the use of the device resulted in a less invasive procedure compared to older technology.
“There are many benefits to having robotic-assisted surgery as a patient,” said Dr. Surgeon. Damon Kalcich, also chief of surgery at the hospital. “Some procedures that were previously performed as open procedures can now be performed as minimally invasive procedures. Smaller incisions mean less blood loss, less pain, less scarring, faster recovery and faster discharge from the hospital.”
The da Vinci robotic surgery system “translates the surgeon’s hand movements into smaller, more precise movements,” the hospital said in its release. “Xi System’s immersive 3D-HD vision system provides surgeons with a highly magnified field of view that can almost reach their eyes and hands into the patient.”
“We are really excited to bring this cutting-edge technology to patients in all four corners. Having surgeons with this advanced technology is extremely beneficial to our patients, and we look forward to expanding our minimally invasive capabilities with the capabilities the Xi System brings Surgical options,” said John Mayer, Chief Financial Officer and Acting Administrator.
San Juan Health Partners General Surgery and San Juan Health Partners Urology are currently using the system.