Cancer Partnership Brings New Services

North Kansas City Hospital’s 2013 oncology partnership with The University of Kansas Cancer Center makes new services available that include radiation oncology for recently approved treatments and new clinical trials.

Prostate Cancer Treated on Campus

Prostate cancer patients in the Northland have access to advanced radiation therapy treatments through the partnership. We can more precisely target prostate cancer tumors while protecting the surrounding tissues and organs with our Calypso 4D tracking system on our Trilogy linear accelerator,” explains Joycelin Canavan, MD, FRCPC, the KUCC radiation oncologist who practices exclusively on the NKCH campus. “This technology offers our patients better outcomes.”


Due to normal fluctuation of prostate movement, it has been a challenge to precisely treat the prostate in the past. Now, Calypso transponders implanted directly into the prostate communicate with the linear accelerator and radiation is delivered only when the prostate is in the pre-determined field. “Traditionally, gold fiducial markers are used for image guidance, but they can’t track prostate motion during radiation treatment. That’s the key difference,” says Dr. Canavan. “Because the Calypso technology allows us to track prostate movement during treatment in real-time, it allows more precise delivery of radiation, which improves outcomes and reduces symptoms and recovery time.” Currently, the Calypso system is FDA-approved for prostate cancer treatment but it has potential applications in other sites such as the lung and breast.

Advanced Motion Features

The state of the art linear accelerator can also be used to provide intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), image guided radiation therapy (IGRT), stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic body radiation therapy(SBRT)—all from one machine.


Calypso 4D Localization 

View larger image

IGRT takes images of the tumor before and during each treatment. The images are compared with those taken during simulation, allowing immediate adjustments to be made to the patient’s position, if needed. IMRT allows the radiation dose to be adjusted to conform more precisely to the shape of the tumor by controlling the intensity of the beam, resulting in precisely delivered doses of radiation and reduced risk to surrounding healthy tissues and organs. Both SRS and SBRT deliver highly precise radiation to small tumors in the brain or other parts of the body.

Clinical Trials Coming Soon

The partnership also aligns the hospital with the region’s only National Cancer Institute-designated facility, including access to clinical trials.  Dr. Canavan plans to screen and enroll patients for radiation trials by spring. Initial trials are for breast cancer with later trials planned for lung cancer, head and neck cancers, brain tumors and prostate cancer.

Multiple Uses of Radiation

Joycelin Canavan quoteSome non-cancerous conditions can also benefit from radiation therapy, according to Dr. Canavan. Benign overgrowth of non-cancerous cells can still do harm; radiation can often stop these fast-growing cells and control the problem. Radiation treatment is also used for palliative purposes to relieve symptoms such as pain or bleeding, in order to improve quality of life for patients with metastatic cancer.

Cancer Services

Joycelin Canavan, MD, FRCPC

Joycelin Canavan, MDDr. Canavan received her medical degree from the University of Dublin in Ireland. She completed her radiation oncology residency at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Can., with a fellowship in prostate brachytherapy at the British Columbia Cancer Agency.

To learn more, call 816.691.5216.