Jun 29, 2010 7:38 PM by David Ortiviz

Pueblo cancer center attracts patients from state, beyond

Joe Horton and Alan Reynolds have a lot in common. They both have a good sense of humor, both live in the San Luis Valley and within this past year, both received a grim diagnosis: prostate cancer. "It's the scariest thing in the world. It was probably the lowest point in my life," said Horton.

The two men found hope at the Dorcy Cancer Center at St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center.

"I didn't realize they had such technology in the world," said Reynolds. The cancer center has two machines called linear accelerators, one is a Trilogy linear accelerator. Doctors use the machines to precisely target cancer cells and zap them using radiation. "The nicest thing about radiation including radio surgery is there's no cutting involved. So you don't need anesthesia. You don't have all the risk of surgery. You don't feel the radiation going through your body, so there's a lot of advantages to this approach," said Dr. Jeffrey Johnson, a radiation oncologist at the caner center.

The center opened four years ago and claims it was the first in the state to use the linear accelerator technology. Patients come from around the state and surrounding states. "Some of my patients drive here from Oklahoma, New Mexico," said Dr. Johnson.

"I ended up here because it was probably the most convenient place closest to home," said Reynolds.

For about two months Horton and Reynolds will stay in Pueblo and receive radiation treatment five days a week. Day by day, Horton remains hopeful. "You don't need to stick your head in the sand when you have cancer, you need to face it head on and have a positive attitude," said Horton.

Dr. Johnson says the new treatment may increase survival rates for prostate cancer, though more study is needed.

The Dorcy Cancer Center at St. Mary Corwin hospital is located at 2004 Lake Ave. in Pueblo. They can be reached by calling 719-557-3738.

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