Cancer Care: Shifting From Survival to Finding a Cure


More and more conversations on cancer are changing from survival to finding a cure. Dr. Michael Hardacre, a radiation oncologist with the Renown Institute for Cancer, joins Channel 4 KRNV (NBC) and Channel 11 KRXI (FOX) for Best Medicine Wednesday to talk about that shift in the Truckee Meadows.

The Renown Institute for Cancer has expanded, but what does that mean for patients? We asked Michael Hardacre, M.D., a radiation oncologist at the institute, to explain the changes in cancer treatment and care.

What kind of technology do we have available locally for patients facing a cancer diagnosis?

Beyond our teams of doctors, medical physicists, dosimetrists, radiation therapists and nurses, we have advanced, leading-edge technology that provides treatment with pinpoint accuracy. 

Our care teams have advanced to include 4-D imaging in our treatment planning, as well as our volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT), which give us the most advanced use of technology on the market today.  The images we acquire prior to treatment allow us to deliver precise treatments within one-tenth of a millimeter accuracy.  To give you an idea of the advancement in these machines, is like going from a dot matrix printer to a family portrait quality printer.

Also, we know that tumors can move, and even variables like a patient’s breathing can change placement during treatment. Using ConeBeam CT, we are able to get the most up-to-date view of a patient’s tumor to guarantee we are hitting the cancer and avoiding everything else.


Where does radiation treatment fit into that?

When it comes to curing cancer, radiation therapy is critical because the technology has advanced so quickly in such a short amount of time. Radiation treatment has really gone through a Renaissance that mimics the same changes you’ve seen in your home computers. The advances made just during my career have been phenomenal. This is amazing news for patients and care providers because it means more accurate, precise treatment.

The Institute for Cancer expanded recently. What did that include?

As a not-for-profit, Renown reinvests its income back into new technologies and facilities to improve patient safety, care and comfort. Our community is growing and we want to ensure our services and technology are growing with our patients’ needs.

For the expansion, $7.5 million was committed to the radiation treatment facility inside the Institute for Cancer, as well as Varian radiation technologies.

We were also fortunate to receive $1 million from philanthropic donations given to Renown Health Foundation, which really shows what donations can do for our community and patients.

What does this mean for patients?

 A lot of people don’t know we’re here and that these services and technologies are available in northern Nevada, but we really are leading-edge and offering the best treatments out there. What this means for patients and their loved ones is they don’t have to leave the Truckee Meadows to get state-of-the-art cancer treatment — it is right here in Reno.

To learn more, visit Renown’s Institute for Cancer online.