Providence Cancer Institute now gives cancer patients a new radiation technology.

MR linac technology uses MRI-guided radiation for pinpoint accuracy to kill tumors and minimize damage to normal tissue. Providence Portland Medical Center is the first facility in the Pacific Northwest and the first community hospital in the nation to offer it.

“The body is not static during radiation, the organs are constantly moving and shifting,” said Dr. Steven Seung, Providence Radiation Oncology and Gamma Knife Center of Oregon medical director. “Imagine if you can see inside the body when you are treating and you can stop the beam if the tumor shifts slightly or something moves in front of the tumor. We can do that now with this technology.”

Seung describes the new technology as the biggest advancement in radiation oncology in 20 years.

A typical radiation treatment plan for a patient with prostate cancer spans seven to eight weeks. With the precision offered by this technology, the treatment can be as short as one week.

Providence will initially treat tumors of the pelvis such as prostate and rectal cancer, adding abdominal and lung treatments in the coming months, and expanding to additional tumor types in the future.

The $8 million MR linac technology was made possible through a $4.5 million donation by Elsie Franz Finley. The Portland businesswoman and philanthropist gave more than $60 million to Providence over her lifetime, much of it benefitting cancer research, technology and nursing education.