Lifesaving Cancer Expertise, Technology & Screenings | Torrance Memorial

Published on June 22, 2022

Lifesaving Cancer Expertise, Technology & Screenings

From screenings to survivorship, patients receive expanded access and personalized care at the Hunt Cancer Institute, an affiliate of Cedars-Sinai Cancer.

Cancer Physicians

Written by Lisa Buffington

Whether you are having a routine cancer screening or are faced with a cancer diagnosis, choosing where to receive your care is one of the most important health decisions you will make. When expertise, quality and access to the most advanced treatment options matter most, Torrance Memorial Medical Center’s Hunt Cancer Institute, accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, delivers the level of care you would expect from an urban academic medical center—right here in the South Bay.

A Full Range of Cancer Screenings

The Hunt Cancer Institute’s comprehensive cancer screening program makes it easy and convenient for South Bay residents to access preventive cancer care, which provides the best chance of finding cancer in its earliest stages when it is easiest to treat. “The most important thing is finding cancer early,” says Thomas Lowe, MD, a hematologist-oncologist who practices at the Hunt Cancer Institute. “Nothing beats an early diagnosis.”

Our cancer screenings include:

  • Breast cancer. Our patients have access to 3D tomosynthesis mammograms that create detailed images of breast tissue.
  • Cervical cancer. Pap tests look for abnormal cell changes in the cervix and HPV tests check for the virus associated with cervical cancer.
  • Colorectal cancer. A colonoscopy is the gold-standard screening for colorectal cancer.
  • Lung cancer. Current and former smokers should talk to their clinician about lung cancer screening with a low-dose CT scan.
  • Prostate cancer. We offer the prostate-specific antigen blood test and prostate-specific membrane antigen PET scan, a breakthrough technology that can detect prostate cancer.
  • Skin cancer. Your clinician can check your skin for suspicious lesions and take a tissue sample for testing, if necessary.

Academic-Level Cancer Expertise

Dr Swati SikariaIf you or someone you love is diagnosed with cancer, you don’t have to travel outside the South Bay to receive the most advanced cancer care. Hunt Cancer Institute specialists—including medical, radiation and surgical oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, nurse navigators, genetic counselors and supportive care providers—discuss each new cancer case at a tumor board meeting and come up with consensus- and evidence-based treatment recommendations. Hunt Cancer Institute tumor boards include brain-spine, breast, gastrointestinal and lung-thoracic.

“Patients appreciate that they receive opinions from multiple specialists through the tumor board,” says Andrew Horodner, MD, hematologist-oncologist at the Hunt Cancer Institute. “We also discuss whether patients may qualify for clinical trials offered at the Hunt Cancer Institute through our partnerships with Cedars-Sinai and UCLA TRIO-US.”

Through an affiliation between Torrance Memorial and Cedars-Sinai, patients at the Hunt Cancer Institute have access to more subspecialty physicians, treatments and clinical trials. “If a patient needs specialized surgery for a complex condition, such as head and neck cancer, they can have their procedure at Cedars-Sinai and receive their follow-up care at the Hunt Cancer Institute,” adds Dr. Horodner.

Technology Revolutionizes Cancer Treatment

Experts at the Hunt Cancer Institute use advanced technology to treat all types of cancer. Patients who require radiation therapy benefit from state-of-the-art technology that helps precisely deliver targeted radiation while sparing healthy tissue, including:

  • TrueBeam linear accelerator image-guided radiation therapy, which uses multiple imaging modalities to precisely target tumors with high-intensity radiation beams
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery, which can treat tumors in the brain without the need for invasive surgery
  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy, which treats cancer in the spine, lungs, liver, pancreas, kidneys or bones in five treatments or fewer
  • Volumetric modulated arc therapy, which delivers 3D radiation as the linear accelerator rotates around the patient.

“Newer radiation treatments allow us to increase accuracy, decrease side effects, and reduce the time and number of sessions required,” says Andrew Schumacher, MD, a radiation oncologist at the Hunt Cancer Institute.

In the operating room, the da Vinci robotic surgical system gives oncologic surgeons the ability to perform complex procedures through small incisions—which means less blood loss, reduced scarring, a shorter hospital stay and a faster recovery for patients.

Breast cancer surgeons at the Hunt Cancer Institute use intraoperative technology including:

  • MarginProbe®, which allows surgeons to check for cancer-free margins during a lumpectomy
  • Savi Scout® radar localization technology, which improves the precision and convenience of presurgical tumor localization without using a guide wire
  • Faxitron™ intraoperative specimen radiography system, which allows for radiographic assessment of tumors by surgeons and radiologists in the operating room.

Brainlab imaging equipment combines MRI and ultrasound images with GPS-like guidance to help neurosurgeons precisely pinpoint where their surgical instruments are in relation to the tumor. Further, Brainlab has revolutionized the treatment of cancer that has spread to the brain.

“Brainlab has changed the treatment of brain metastases,” says Dr. Schumacher. “Now we can treat 10 or more lesions with radiosurgery in 20 to 30 minutes using a higher dose of radiation without the need for whole-brain treatment—which means fewer side effects and fewer sessions.”

Along with the obvious quality-of-life benefits provided by this advanced treatment technology, patient outcomes and mortality rates demonstrate a commitment to high-quality, high-value care. “Our survivorship is far superior to national averages,” says Dr. Lowe, who referenced a November 2021 report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Oncology Care Model. “According to the report, breast cancer mortality at the Hunt Cancer Institute was 60.5% lower than the national average, lung cancer was 11.4% lower and colorectal cancer was 19% lower.”

And whether patients are receiving screenings or in survivorship, they won’t have to look beyond the Hunt Cancer Institute to get the expert, advanced care they need at any stage of their health journey. 

The Hunt Cancer Institute is located at 3330 Lomita Blvd. in Torrance. If you have questions, contact our Cancer Resource Center at 310-517-7077.