Greeley woman receives first of new kind of cancer treatment at North Colorado Medical Center | MyWindsorNow.com
Kelly Ragan
kragan@greeleytribune.com

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Greeley woman receives first of new kind of cancer treatment at North Colorado Medical Center

Shelby Thimmig of Greeley smiles after she finished her last round of radiation. She was the first patient at North Colorado Medical Center to undergo a new cancer treatment procedure called high-dose rate brachytherapy.

Thanks to a new kind of cancer treatment, Shelby Thimmig didn't have to worry about her face becoming disfigured. Thimmig was the first person at North Colorado Medical Center's cancer institute to get the treatment. On Friday, she finished her last round of radiation.

She was a good candidate for the new procedure, called high-dose rate brachytherapy. Thimmig had basal cell cancer on her nose. Traditional surgery would have damaged the delicate, healthy tissue. She also has multiple myeloma, cancer of the blood, which made her a bad candidate for surgery.

John Baldwin, a medical physicist, said the device used in the procedure uses concentrated, external radiation. It allows doctors to focus the dose on a particular area. Doctors can then deliver a more precise dose to the cancerous area of the skin.

Baldwin, Brian Fuller, a doctor at NCMC and Roxanne Troschinetz, a radiation therapist, worked to stabilize and immobilize Thimmig before the radiation began. That involved putting a custom mask over her face that braced against the table. If she moved too much, she could throw off the calculations.

Traditional treatments would have required Thimmig to come to the hospital 25 times or more for daily doses of radiation. With the high-dose rate brachytherapy, she came to the NCMC Cancer Institute just twice a week for a total of eight procedures.

Fuller said high-dose rate brachytherapy has been available at the hospital for about three months. Thimmig was the first patient to use and complete treatment, but he said he has several others lined up.

"Surgery would have been disfiguring (for Shelby)," Fuller said.

The procedure was pain-free, Thimmig said. She'd recommend it to anyone who qualified as a candidate.

For more

For more information on the North Colorado Medical Center Cancer Institute, go to http://bit.ly/2t0cgDO.