It's one of the last things a woman wants to hear.
You have breast cancer.
And although those are the exact words one Bellevue woman heard, thanks to some cutting edge technology, she's on the road to recovery.
All without traditional radiation.
While Lori Kirkland sits down to have a pleasant conversation with her doctor today...
The news wasn't so good six months ago.
Lori was told she had breast cancer.
"What's going through your mind when you hear those words? of course that I'm gonna die. Nobody wants to hear that," said Lori.
Lori had the lump in her right breast removed.
But traditional radiation treatment wasn't an option. A lung condition made her left lung virtually useless. Traditional radiation could've damaged her functioning right lung.
"Since my right lung does the work in my body, my left lung does almost nothing, I was really concerned about that."
But Lori's future suddenly got a lot brighter once she found Alegent Health's Immanuel Cancer Center and Dr. Joan Keit.
"Tomotherapy is an exciting new technology in radiation therapy, it's been around about five years," said Dr. Keit.
Tomotherapy is exactly what Doctor Joan Keit used on Lori.
The Alegent radiation oncologist started using this technology, found primarily on the coasts two years ago.
"I always use the analogy of a camera. The more pixels you have, the sharper picture definition. Well with radiation therapy if we're using tens of thousands of pixels rather than two or three or four beams, we can get very elegant, very precise dosed distributions," says Keit.
Tomotherapy lets Dr. Keit target tumors much more precisely. So in Lori's case that meant no damage to surrounding lung tissue, and no need for a mastectomy.
"By using tomotherapy, we got the risk down to zero and for her that makes a big difference," says Keit.
Lori couldn't agree more.
Just a few weeks after her treatment, her prognosis couldn't be better.
"I was thrilled this option was available. I can't emphasize enough the great care I got here."
"The Alegent Health Immanuel Cancer Center is the only center in Nebraska offering tomotherapy, which is also effective on other cancers.
Doctor Keit is opening another center with tomotherapy treatment in Columbus in the near future.