Published on July 07, 2009

MGMC will implement new cancer treatment in July

AMES, Iowa - This month, Mary Greeley Medical Center's William R. Bliss Cancer Center will implement a new cancer treatment called High Dose Brachytherapy (HDR). This newer outpatient HDR treatment replaces the older time consuming Low Dose Rate (LDR) treatments.

Board-certified radiation oncologists Gregory Yee, M. D., and Joseph Rhoades, M.D., of the William R. Bliss Cancer Center, said Mary Greeley Medical Center will be one of the few centers in the state incorporating this radiation method into practice. "It's a service that we were sending off to other hospitals to be done, so it's more convenient to our patients," Rhoades said.

HDR is the process of temporarily applying radiation directly inside the body cavity (lung airway, uterus, or breast surgical cavity) using a robot that directs radioactive material in a closed catheter into or around the tumor. After a CT scan and treatment planning, the radiation dose is delivered over a few minutes and the catheter is removed. Unlike traditional radiation methods where external beams are targeted at the tumor from outside the body, HDR can be done within hours as an outpatient service.

Sue Scoles, director of Oncology Services at Mary Greeley Medical Center, said, "Patient care is enhanced with this new technology, as HDR permits the physician to deliver a very precise dose of radiation to the cancerous tumor and limit the amount of radiation reaching healthy tissues nearby."

The William R. Bliss Cancer Center will focus on HDR treatment for breast, lung, cervical and uterine cancers.

HDR, along with all the treatments and services available, supports Mary Greeley Medical Center's mission to provide high quality, cost-effective health care services that advance the health of central Iowans through specialized care and personal touch.

For more information, visit or call 515-956-6440.