RYE, N.Y. - Dr. Daniel Fass, an oncologist in Rye with Westmed Medical Group , is employing a new cutting-edge technology to help treat cancer called TomoTherapy.
"TomoTherapy is a way of treating patients with cancer using image guidance, meaning that part of the treatment each day we do a CAT scan to see what we're treating inside the patient," Dr. Fass said sitting inside his office in Westmed at Rye. "Before the advent of TomoTherapy we would rely on external landmarks, but we really never knew if what we wanted to treat was right smack in the middle of the beam."
Fass has been employing the procedure for over four years, and up until recently he was the only oncologist in Westchester doing so. It was introduced at a symposium in 2008 and was developed by a group of physicists in Madison, Wis. According to Fass, the technology was just too good to pass up.
"We visited a couple of centers and saw what a revolution it was," Fass said. "So we acquired the technology in put it here in Rye."
Fass also said that the general consensus surrounding TomoTherapy is that it is superior to traditional treatment methods. "I saw the technology was going to improve peoples lives," Fass said. "And it's always about doing the best thing for our patients."
When asked why more oncologists hadn't adopted the technology, Fass cited cost as the main reason. "It's a large expense, and there's always uncertainty when it comes to reimbursement," Fass said. "You don't get paid more for doing TomoTherapy, so you really are taking a risk."
According to Fass, implementing TomoTherapy could cost upwards of $3 million, and it costs even more to maintain and install the device. "The old technology it replaced is like 30 years old," Fass said. "It's like a 1950s Chevy compared to a brand new Prius."
Fass estimates that he's treated over 1,000 patients with TomoTherapy and is proud to report that his cure rates for prostate cancer have increased from 80 percent to over 90 percent.
Westmed Medical Group's Rye offices are located at 1 Theall Road, Rye, Tel. (914) 848-8888.
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