Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center’s linear accelerator has served more than 3000 patients since 2001. And now they are in the process of upgrading to a new state-of-the-art accelerator that will be the first of its kind in Idaho.
This changeover is expected to take about three months and in the meantime the only change patients will notice is that they will be receiving treatment in another building.
The building is located across the street from the hospital and is a temporary building that looks anything but temporary. Once a foundation was in place and the electrical works was complete, it took just four days to put this modular unit together. And while in a few months, this process will be repeated at another hospital, most likely in a different state, its significance in the Upper Valley is very important.
“If this wasn’t available, they would have to go somewhere else for treatment,” said Mark Stiteler, EIRMC Cancer Center Manager.
"If they had family in Utah or Salt Lake, they could potentially do that. Otherwise they would be forced to go down to Pocatello. And we draw from such a large area, adding another hour is very difficult.”
You don’t have to tell this to Matt Pond of Rexburg. This cancer survivor remembers the grueling days of radiation.
“I lost all of my hair and sick as can be,” said Pond. “I was so glad that was so close.”
How important is it during radiation to have something close?
“You never know how sick you are going to be,” continued Pond. “How exhausting it is just to drive even a little ways.”
Radiation therapy can last a day or it can go up to 9 months. It usually takes between 10-30 minutes to complete each time. Having this treatment option available close to home can make a big difference in a patient’s quality of life.
“Any patient that is receiving radiation is going to be a Monday- Friday workday thing,” said Nate Esplin, Lead Radiology Therapist.
“These patients have lives outside of treatments as well. And so we do our best to
take that into consideration.”
In this story we had a cancer survivor. Friday we’ll show you his inspiring journey and how he is now using it to motivate others.