New cancer treatment unveiled in East Texas

By Jamey Boyum - email

Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A promising new cancer treatment was unveiled at the UT Health Science Center of Tyler. It revolutionizes the way they can treat cancerous tumors in a patients' lungs.

U.T.'s Health Science Center is officially open, featuring Brachytherapy, a new treatment that doesn't involve surgery. After mild sedation a catheter is inserted down the patient's throat and into the lung into or near the tumor. Radiation is then released from a small seed at the end of the catheter that targets the tumor and zaps it.

"It allows us to kill the tumor without killing the normal lung tissue, which enables them to lead a more normal life after getting treated," said Ted McLemore, a Pulmonologist.

"What's nice about it is Brachytherapy is really fast, about three to four minutes," said Ron Jung, a radiologist.

Patients can leave the hospital a short time later without feeling sick.

Jung showed me an image of a chest cavity. He said that the black splotches in the images are not the tumors. They are voids where the lungs are.

"They've had their first treatment when they came to us, we're going to give them their second treatment," said Jung. "As you can see, their lung has opened up."

In as little as one treatment, maybe three, the patients are breathing easier.

There are only a handful of hospitals worldwide that offer Brachytherapy.