A Campaign For a New Linear Accelerator
There may be no disease as feared or as hard-fought as cancer. Each year, an estimated 17,400 Iowans are diagnosed with cancer and 6,200 lose their lives. Cancer remains the second-leading cause of death in Iowa.
According to the Iowa Cancer Consortium, when cancer is found, an individual's survival and quality of life can depend on the availability of timely, quality treatment. Iowans face many barriers to accessing lifesaving cancer treatments, some of which include:
- Transportation to medical facilities where quality care is available, especially in rural parts of the state
- Overall availability of a qualified cancer workforce
- Financial insecurity
- Quality of life interventions such as physical activity and nutrition programs to enhance cancer treatment
Trinity Cancer Center located at Trinity Regional Medical Center began providing comprehensive cancer care in 2012. Trinity Cancer Center serves an eight-county area with over 20 rural clinics and serves as a regional rural referral center for all of northwest central Iowa. Trinity Cancer Center is the only provider of radiation oncology services within a 60 mile-radius of Fort Dodge.
Round Trip Between Fort Dodge and
• Minneapolis, MN: 436 miles
• Rochester, MN: 370 Miles
• Iowa City: 359 Miles
• Des Moines: 197 Miles
• Ames: 132 Miles
To continue the same comprehensive and quality cancer treatment that our community has come to expect, UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge built a new radiation vault and purchased a True Beam linear accelerator. Now we need your help! We could not fundraise during COVID-19, but we could proceed with construction of the new vault and installation, commissioning, and training for the new linear accelerator.
We now have a goal to raise $3.5 million dollars toward the total project cost of $4.2 million dollars. The balance of the project cost will be paid by UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge. As always, our aim is to provide care close to home and keep patients where they are happiest – at home with their family.
Trinity Cancer Center boast a qualified and highly trained workforce skilled in delivering personalized cancer treatment plans. In addition to medical and radiation oncologists, radiation therapists and nurse coordinators, a Patient Navigator assists patients with securing health care benefits and ensures that basic needs and financial insecurities are addressed. An individualized treatment plan including care by oncology trained physical, occupational and speech therapists is designed for each patient. These therapists work to address the side effects of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation and with a goal of helping a person return to their original fitness level or better.
The goal of Trinity Cancer Center is to remove all barriers that patients may encounter in their journey and support patients in a comprehensive manner.
A New Linear Accelerator
According to the American Society for Radiation Oncology, two out of three people who are diagnosed with cancer undergo some form of radiation therapy as part of their treatment.
The new True Beam linear accelerator at Trinity Cancer Center will provide timely, and quality life-saving cancer treatment in Fort Dodge. It offers several new technologies including Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) - the use of targeted, high dose radiation in one treatment for some head and neck cancers and Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) - the delivery of targeted, high dose radiation in only 3-5 treatments. In some cases of lung, prostrate, liver, breast and abdomen cancer, treatments will be reduced from 30 or 40 treatments to just three to five treatments.
Why did we need a new linear accelerator?
- Trinity Cancer Center was notified by the manufacturer that beginning in 2021, they would no longer support the machine/technology with a service contract. The linear accelerator had reached end of life; it was no longer keeping pace with present-day standards of care and no longer complimented the direction of evidence-based radiation oncology services. Trinity Cancer Center prides itself on providing the very best care for our patients.
What is the timeline?
- Due to COVID-19, the project is complete. We could not fundraise during COVID-19, but we could proceed with construction of the new vault and installation, commissioning, and training for the new linear accelerator. Our goal, as always, is to provide the best care available to our patients. It was decided to complete the project and proceed with fundraising once we reached the post pandemic phase.
What is the benefit of the new technology?
- The new technology can reduce the number of treatments a patient requires for successful treatment. The treatment has pinpoint accuracy resulting in less damage to nearby healthy cells and reduces the amount of radiation exposure by 25 percent. The new linear accelerator also has assisted positioning so treatment time is reduced by 60 percent.
What cancers can be treated with the new equipment?
- We will continue to treat the same cancers; however, there will be new options for treatment that will increase the number of patients treated at our facility and decrease the number of patients that are referred to other facilities. The new equipment will also increase the effectiveness of the radiation and decrease the number of treatments as well as the amount of radiation received. Individual cases will vary, but some instances of lung, prostrate, breast, liver and abdomen treatments will be reduced from 30 or 40 treatments to just three to five treatments.
Another example is the ability to perform stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) which is the use of high dose radiation in just one treatment for some head and neck cancers.
It is important to note that the old linear accelerator, which was 20 years old, no longer complemented the direction of evidence-based radiation oncology services. It did not provide stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) or stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT).
Why was a new vault built?
- Building a new vault ensured a seamless transition of services for patients and staff. Radiation vaults are very technical in nature. The existing vault would have required a significant remodel to accommodate the new linear accelerator. This would have caused a complete interruption of service for approximately six to 12 months. This would be a major inconvenience to our patients. In addition, there would also be a decrease in revenue, as well as a potential loss of highly trained staff. These factors were all taken into account when making the decision to build a new vault. Having a second vault in place will be an advantage in the future if we need a new or additional linear accelerator.
How long will this new linear accelerator last?
- To provide the proper standard of care our patients deserve, UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge is committed to advancing our equipment. The lifetime of a Linear Accelerator is generally 15 years depending on the usage and advances in technology. To provide current standard of care, we will upgrade our technology as needed in future years.
Why should I get involved?
- Providing comprehensive cancer treatment has always been a goal of UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge. We have been providing this service since 2012 and we are committed to providing this care in the future. We know patients and families benefit from this care. We know that when cancer is found, an individual's survival and quality of life can depend on the availability of timely, quality treatment. The new linear accelerator at Trinity Cancer Center can provide these services for our community; for our family, friends and ourselves.
Is my donation tax deductible?
- All donations to Trinity Foundation are tax deductible to the greatest extent of the law. Please work with your financial and tax advisors to determine the best avenue for your support. All donations can be made through Trinity Foundation, which is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.
What will happen to the old equipment?
Ways to Give:
- We are currently working with a group that provides radiation oncology services in Panama, Guatemala, Senegal and Tanzania. They host annual symposiums and have provided radiation technology and expertise around the world. This group works to improve cancer care globally. As much as our current Linear Accelerator no longer complements the direction of evidence-based radiation oncology services by our medical standards, it will support the mission of this group.
- Cash or securities
- Pledges – can be extended over a period of up to five years
- Blended gifts
- IRA assets. If you are 70½ or older, you can make a charitable gift from your IRA of up to $100,000 to satisfy your annual required minimum distribution
- Real estate and personal property
- Gift of grain
- Matching gifts through your employer or spouse's employer can double, even triple your gift
- Your gift may be made in honor or in memory of someone