Adaptive radiation therapy (ART) – a new patient tumor personalized technology – is now available to treat and cure women with cervical cancer and other gynecologic tumors.
Traditional radiation therapy bases the treatment area primarily on the shape of the patient’s pelvic bones while assuming the tumor is confined within these boundaries. In contrast, ART uses advanced CT- and MRI-guided technology to conform around the actual tumor and potentially involved lymph nodes, adjusting to a much tighter treatment zone at each session.
It’s a highly personalized approach, and UT Southwestern’s adaptive radiation oncology center is the only place in North Texas with the advanced technology to treat gynecologic cancers this way.
ART allows us to adjust the treatment zone based on:
Serial and real-time changes in the patient’s tumor size, shape, and location
Fluctuations in positioning of organs in the pelvis, such as the bladder, intestines, and rectum.
By revising the treatment area to account for those physical changes, we radiate significantly less healthy tissue and avoid or reduce side effects from radiation therapy, such as diarrhea or urination problems.
ART is a major advancement in gynecologic cancer care. In 2022, we are embarking on two clinical trials as part of a larger effort to learn which patients benefit most from gynecological ART, and to determine the smallest yet safest margins we can make around the tumor to further reduce treatment side effects.
Who is a candidate for ART?
Women with advanced cervical, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar tumors that are changing in size or shape are prime candidates for ART. This technology also may benefit patients with gynecologic cancers, such as vaginal and endometrial, who are too sick to undergo surgery and those who cannot have anesthesia.
Gynecological tumors tend to be very sensitive to radiation due to their cellular makeup. Radiation therapy has been used successfully to shrink large gynecologic tumors completely – relieving pelvic pressure, bloating, pain and cure the cancer all together.
Gynecological tumors are often in close contact to critical tissue including the bladder, rectum, ovaries, and reproductive/sexual tissues. Because of the closeness of the tumor and these normal healthy tissues, treatment with traditional radiation can cause side effects that affect these normal tissues. Using ART, we can further reduce discomfort by redrawing the border around the actual tumor in each session to avoid treating more of the surrounding healthy tissue and decrease the side effects associated with traditional radiation.
How ART shrinks and cures gyn tumors
ART is a new kind of radiation therapy that acquires high quality images just prior to a treatment, adjusts the targets for that day to treat only involved or at-risk tissues, and very quickly re-plans the entire treatment for that day.
In contrast to traditional radiation treatment, where a plan is devised prior to starting therapy and is used for each subsequent treatment, ART provides an extra level of precision and personalization – all carried out while the patient comfortably rests on the treatment table.
ART acquires a new CT or MRI, which is captured at the beginning of each subsequent treatment session. The updated image allows us to make changes specific to that day. In the days between treatments, tumors will ideally shrink, allowing for a smaller treatment area. MRI-based radiation therapy is new technology and unique to UT Southwestern in North Texas. The machines create images so crisp and detailed we can view the millimeters of space between a tumor and a nearby organ or distinguish a tiny, tucked away tumor from its surroundings.
We use the real-time MRI information to revise the treatment plan, tightening the original boundary around the tumor to account for changes such as:
Bladder fullness or positioning
Intestinal fullness or positioning
Then, one of our medical physicists recalibrates the radiation treatment plan to the new, personalized specifications.
More treatment time, fewer side effects
ART sessions take 45-60 minutes, whereas traditional radiation takes approximately half an hour. But the extra time customizing the therapy is worthwhile. As the tumor shrinks, some women feel immediate relief from cancer-related symptoms, such as pelvic bloating, fullness, bleeding, and/or pain.
One concern some women have is that ART requires additional imaging compared with traditional radiation therapy – which includes a slightly higher, though still very low, level of imaging-related exposure, specifically with CT imaging. There is no additional ionizing radiation with MRI scanning used on some ART platforms.
Most patients say the small increase in CT imaging-related radiation is a welcome tradeoff for less unnecessary radiation of tissues around their tumor. Potentially using ART, we could avoid or reduce side effects from pelvic radiation therapy, such as:
Diarrhea or bowel changes
ART is approved by Medicare for most cancer treatments, and the ultimate benefits of these new technologies are being determined. Your doctor will explain the risks and benefits of this treatment for your personal condition.
By Valerie Fields Hill News Editor Texas Metro News
Two longtime Tarrant County community servants, Alisa Simmons and Ruby Faye Woolridge, appeared headed for a runoff Tuesday night in the Democratic primary race to replace Tarrant County Commissioner Devan Allen.
Simmons was leading at 11 p.m. Tuesday with 51.03 percent of the absentee and early votes in the race for the Tarrant County commissioner Precinct 2 seat. Woolridge followed closely behind with 48.97 percent of the vote, in unofficial results.
By 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, Election Day in-person voting results had not been posted to the Tarrant County Elections Administration web site.
It was unclear why the re- sults had not been posted although election administrators had said the site would be updated with voter results every 30 to 45 minutes, beginning at about 7 p.m. Tuesday.
“The Elections Results Report will be posted beginning at approximately 7 p.m. on Election Night, displaying the early voting results (including both the early voting ballots cast in person and by mail),” a note on the site read.
“This report will then be updated approximately every 30 to 45 minutes beginning about 8:30 p.m. as Election Day Vote Center locations deliver their results to the counting stations.”
Meanwhile, neither Simmons or Woolridge publicly claimed victory late Tuesday night.
Neither candidate could be reached for comment. Neither posted messages on her campaign’s Facebook page or web site.
Earlier Tuesday, both candidates had encouraged voters to cast ballots in the race, which had become one of the more interesting races in the county.
The two Democratic candidates for the Precinct 2 Commissioners seat both raised eyebrows last month as they sparred over the sincerity of the other’s community service during a taped interview that they sat for with a Fort Worth Star-Telegram representative.
In the interview, Simmons said Woolridge had told her she was interested in the Commissioners job merely because of its $180,000 salary. Woolridge countered that Simmons revealed information shared with her in confidence. Both women are members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and worship at the same church.
The winner in the Democratic primary will face Republican Andy Nguyen who held the seat from 2010 to 2018, when Allen, a Democrat, flipped it. Allen announced she would not seek reelection last year.
Former U.S. Rep. John Bryant was content that his days as an elected official were done until last year, when Texas Republicans passed a slew of controversial conservative legislation in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.
It prompted him to get back in the game.
“I just felt like it was time to get off the sidelines and get to a position to be able to fight back against these guys,” Bryant said. “Democrats are losing every single battle…I decided it was time to step up and try to provide some leadership.”
Bryant’s candidacy has seasoned an already intriguing race to replace retiring Democrat John Turner in Dallas’ District 114. Before he filed his candidacy at the deadline, four Democrats – all under the age of 40 – were vying to replace Turner.
At a time when many Democrats are coaxing members of the emerging generation to take leadership roles, Bryant has made the race a choice between a proven veteran from a previous era, or younger, less established Democrats who insist they can get the job done.
The drama is being played out on a diverse canvas. The newly revised District 114 is composed of a majority of minority residents and skews younger in sections. It includes parts of North and East Dallas, including the M Streets, Casa Linda and some neighborhoods around White Rock Lake.
Bryant, who will turn 75 next month, says the stakes are too high to take the chance on an unproven lawmaker.
“This is a time to put our most experienced people to work in any area in which they can make a contribution,” Bryant said. “In my case, it’s legislating.”
Bryant’s opponents say the party needs young leaders, like he was 48 years ago, when he first joined the Legislature.
“It would be a step back for the Democratic Party. It might even be an embarrassment for the Democratic Party and for Dallas,” said Chris Leal, a 32-year-old Dallas public school teacher running to replace Turner. “We’re going to need fresh thinking leadership to tackle the problems of our day.”
Kendall Scudder, 31, and the youngest candidate in the field, also took exception to Bryant’s reasons for his candidacy.
“I said to him, ‘John, I hated to see you in the race, but I’m glad to see you back in the fight,’” Scudder said. “I’m just trying to get an opportunity to serve my community in my 30s, like you.’”.
Other District 114 contenders were less pointed in their reactions to Bryant’s candidacy.
“What I always emphasize is that what we need to do is focus on the community, and then elect leaders that look like the community,” said Dallas lawyer Alexandra Guio, who is 34-years-old.
Dallas lawyer Charlie Gearing, 38, said he respects Bryant, but touted his skills.
“I’ve not only got the skills to get the job done and to work with people in Austin, but I also have a record of getting things done with people that may not agree with me,” Gearing said.
Whatever the choice, party leaders are encouraged by what they described as a qualified crop of candidates.
“It’s a diverse race, just like the Democratic Party. There are folks from different generations. There’s folks from different backgrounds and nationalities and there’s obviously men and a woman in the race,” said Dallas Democratic Party Chairwoman Kristy Noble. “There’s a lot of good experience and a number of great people who would be great representatives, each in their own right.”
Noble conceded that the District 114 contest showcases an age-old dilemma in politics, particularly with Texas Democrats who have been trying to find the right mix of candidates to beat Republicans, who controlled statewide politics.
“Folks who have been around a while say youth is wasted on the young, and young folks say ‘you guys just don’t get it,” Noble said. “We’re trying to put some outreach plans in place that lay on top of all generations, all nationalities, all different people within the Democratic Party.”
Determined to ‘turn the tide’
Bryant says the moment brought him to the fight.
He was a staple in electoral politics until 1996, when he lost the Democratic Party primary for Senate to Crandall school teacher Victor Morales, who drove a white pickup across Texas in route to the upset victory. Morales lost the general election to Republican Phil Gramm.
Bryant had served in Congress for 14 years, representing Dallas and 10 North and Central Texas counties.
Before Congress, Bryant spent nine years in the Texas House, serving on the Committees on Judicial Affairs, Criminal Justice, and Education. He was twice named one of the “Ten Best Legislators” by Texas Monthly Magazine.
Now voters must decided if Bryant is the best choice for the new District 114, or a holdover from a bygone era?
“I’ve already had a career,” Bryant said. “I’ve just got this one thing I want to do, which is turn the tide.”
Bryant said that the threat to reproductive rights and the Republican-driven efforts to influence election laws make the actions of state lawmakers more critical than in the past.
“The nominee should immediately start working to build a Democratic majority in the House by helping in all the marginal districts to try to bring back a Democratic majority,” Bryant said. “We can’t keep being driven backwards year after year after year.”
Candidates tout connections to the district
The departure of Turner, who is leaving the Legislature to focus on his family, has attracted a diverse set of candidates that claim to best fit the makeup of the district.
“Right now we have a really unique opportunity for us to elect a strong Democrat to help push the party forward and end our 30 year drought in Texas,” Leal said. “We actually do, here in Texas, have a surprising, progressive legacy that most people have forgotten about.”
Leal pointed to Sam Rayburn, Lyndon Baines Johnson and Barbara Jordan as Democrats who pushed progressive policies. In that mode, he said it was possible to get things done in the Texas Legislature that promotes education, access to affordable health care, economic empowerment, voting rights, reproductive rights and other progressive issues.
Economic inequality, Leal said, was hurting the Texas political discourse.
“This trend creates a lot of demand and oxygen to these extremist politics. People are looking for scapegoats. ‘Who do I blame for the pressures in my life?” Leal said. “If we get this economic situation right… it’ll help us finally pull ourselves out of this political mess.”
Guio, a former Dallas County prosecutor, said her background, which includes being an undocumented resident, helps her relate to the needs of the most vulnerable residents in her district.
“I have a lot of memories, feeling very vulnerable,” said Guio, who was born in Colombia. “Whether it was through lack of health care, housing insecurity or food insecurity, when you have that vulnerability, and not feeling like you have a voice, it’s pretty scary.”
Guio said she’s ready to fight for better public education, affordable health care and reproductive rights.
“I have these coalition’s built with so many people in my community,” she said. “I know that there are a lot of people who feel vulnerable like I once did, or feel like they don’t have a voice or feel like they’re too afraid to fight for themselves.”
Though the youngest in the field, Scudder said he’s been in politics for 20 years.
“I have been in this arena for a while duking it out to make sure that Democrats are having an opportunity to actually get some wins in our corner,” Scudder said.
In 2018 Scudder campaigned unsuccessfully for the Texas Senate against Republican Bob Hall.
“When the party had no candidate in the most conservative Senate district in Texas, I stepped up to the plate,” Scudder said. “I went in arguing for women’s reproductive health down the barrels of shotguns in East Texas and I never backed down from our values.”
Scudder said he would work with Republicans to reform the foster care system, fully fund public schools and make permanent cost of living adjustments for retired teachers.
” I represent a new generation of leadership that’s looking forward to having a seat at the table,” he said.
A small business owner, Scudder said he needed political action to survive.
“I got involved in politics because I have lesbian mothers in East Texas and Republicans were trying to rip me out of my home and throw me in foster care,” he said. “My head was in the guillotine. And whenever you’re someone who has to find a calling in politics for their family to survive, that’s someone that you can trust.”
Gearing, a Dallas lawyer who initially was running for Congress against incumbent Republican Lance Gooden until the redistricting process drew him out of that area, says he’s a good fit in the Legislature.
Along with education, health care and other core issues, Gearing is committed to securing reproductive rights for women and civil rights to transgender residents. He and his wife had to make an abortion decision.
“Our child stopped growing at six weeks and then didn’t have a heartbeat. I was sitting in that doctor’s office in the same way that a lot of Texas families are sitting in,” he said.
“It was such a tough decision for me and my wife and our OBGYN, but we had to have an abortion the next day,” Gearing said. “I’m concerned about the abortion restrictions and how dangerous they are for families. I just don’t think the government should be involved in those decisions.”
Gearing said it’s unfair that Republican-driven legislation is negatively impacting transgender residents.
“We have neighbors here in Casa Linda Forest that have an 11-year old transgender daughter and we have had a front row seat to their repeated trauma last summer with 52 bills targeting trans kids and 75 bills targeting the LGBTQ plus community as a whole. I’m intent on stopping that, so I thought the statehouse would be a good place to address both of those issues.”
As the District 114 contest rolls along, Noble, the party leader, says Democrats must use the clout in urban areas to flip the state from red to blue.
“We have the onus on us…to get out and to push as many voters to the polls as we can and to be the force and the tip of the arrow in terms of pushing our values forward,” Noble said.
Texas Democrats are hoping to win with Beto O’Rourke as their candidate for governor — even if he loses.
With his ability to raise large amounts of campaign cash, mobilize volunteers and target voters, Democrats are banking that O’Rourke will have long coattails that will help their down-ballot candidates.
That’s what happened in 2018, when O’Rourke’s close contest against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz helped make winners out of other Democrats on the ticket. That included victories by U.S. Reps. Colin Allred of Dallas and Lizzie Fletcher of Houston. Democrats also had a net gain of 12 seats in the Texas House, and they took control of the Fifth District Court of Appeals.
But analysts warn that Beto 2.0 won’t be the down-ballot influencer he was in 2018. It’s unclear whether he can generate that same excitement with voters, particularly after his failed 2020 presidential campaign. The thrill may be gone, critics say.
Then there are structural changes in the electoral process that make it more difficult for a top-of-the ballot candidate to have coattails. Unlike the 2018 elections, there is no straight-ticket voting. That means any new or infrequent voters produced by O’Rourke, or his likely rival, Republican incumbent Greg Abbott, must manually vote on the entire ticket to help down-ballot candidates, instead of picking the entire party slate in one motion.
Scott Griggs, a Dallas Democrat and member of the party’s State Executive Committee, said O’Rourke’s candidacy for governor will pay dividends across the ballot.
“He has rock star status. He has a huge following,” Griggs said after attending O’Rourke’s rally Sunday in Dallas. “It’s easy for him to draw a crowd and create excitement, and that helps the whole ticket all the way down.”
But state Rep. Jasmine Crockett, who met with O’Rourke before the rally, said the absence of straight-ticket voting makes it harder for any candidate at the top of the ticket to have long coattails.
“It doesn’t help the rest of the ticket like it used to,” said Crockett, who unsuccessfully pushed a bill in the Legislature to restore party line voting. “Obviously the Republicans were nervous, so they got rid of straight party ticket voting. So it’s going to be important that those down-ballot candidates do as much as they can with the little resources that they have to make sure that the people know exactly who they are.”
Crockett said O’Rourke is still a net positive for Democrats.
“He’s going to bring a lot of people out, but it’s not going to be as many people being swept in,” she said.
The filing period for the March primary election ends Dec. 13, and Democrats don’t have proven vote-getters up and down their statewide and local tickets.
Their last big-name candidate for governor was former state Sen. Wendy Davis, whose star-making filibuster that stalled an anti-abortion bill made her a national celebrity. But Abbott beat her by 20 percentage points, winning his first term as governor.
While O’Rourke came out of relative obscurity to challenge Cruz in 2018, the rest of the ticket featured little-known and sparsely funded former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez for governor.
Part of the calculus for Democratic operatives for the 2022 midterm elections was to have a candidate for governor who could raise money and inspire enough voters to give Abbott a credible challenge, while helping the rest of the ticket.
A tele-meeting in January with Democratic leaders across the state was essentially a “Draft Beto” call, according to several people who participated. O’Rourke took nearly the rest of the year to make up his mind, but he agreed.
O’Rourke says he can beat Abbott.
“I’m confident that we can win. And it is not about the candidate, and not about my political party,” O’Rourke told The Dallas Morning News. “It is about Texas and the big things that we want to do, better jobs, world-class public schools, expanding Medicaid … we’re going to win because those are the things that Texans are focused on.”
O’Rourke’s campaign raised $2 million in 24 hours, which it says is a record. That should make down-ballot Democrats happy.
But Republicans are expected to have considerable advantages, which could negate O’Rourke’s appeal.
In 2020, the GOP proved that a record number of voters didn’t mean Democrats would turn the state blue. They won every statewide race and maintained control of the Legislature.
With Democrats and President Joe Biden in control of the White House, O’Rourke and Texas Democrats could face headwinds next year, which is typical for the party with the presidency.
“It’s hard for me to imagine the coattail effect for Beto in the political environment that we anticipate in 2022,” said University of Texas at Tyler political scientist Kenneth Bryant. “It’s going to be a little different than the midterm in 2018.”
Bryant said Democrats also have to contend with the redistricting process, which resulted in a lack of swing districts across the state.
The party, which hasn’t won a statewide race since 1994, will be trying to hold its own turf.
“The defensive posture of Democratic candidates in 2022 is going to make it hard, but it’s not impossible,” Bryant said.
In areas like Dallas County, however, O’Rourke’s presence on the ballot could be a major factor.
Democrats are trying to unseat Dallas County Commissioner J.J. Koch, and they are redrawing the boundaries to make it more favorable for their nominee. Party leaders are also trying to oust Morgan Meyer of University Park and Angie Chen Button of Garland — the last two Dallas County Republicans in the Texas House.
Griggs said after the 2020 elections, O’Rourke focused on grass-roots activity, including the formation of his political action committee called Powered by People, which seeks to register and mobilize voters.
“Beto has spent a tremendous amount of time to bring new people to the table who’ve not voted before,” Griggs said. “All those new voters will be mobilized and the base will be mobilized, and that should help overcome some of the disadvantages from redistricting.”
Eddie Bernice Johnson’s decision to retire after her term ends next year has set off a flurry of activity from Democrats looking to succeed her in Congress.
On Sunday Jane Hamilton, the former chief of staff for Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, announced that she was shifting from an exploratory phase to candidate for the District 30 seat. She’ll have prominent endorsements and some campaign cash. Former Dallas Council member Vonciel Jones Hill is also running for replace Johnson in the March Democratic Party primary.
The other announced candidates include Shenita Cleveland, who ran in 2020 and picked up 13% of the vote, Zachariah Manning of Dallas, progressive Democrat Jessica Mason and Dallas lawyer Abel Mulugheta.
But more folks could jump into the race by the time you read this story. When the filing period ends on Dec. 13, there could be a multitude of contenders.
Here are three things to watch as this dramatic primary contest unfolds.
Who will Johnson endorse?
On Saturday Johnson made it clear that she’s backing a candidate in the primary, telling the crowd of Democrats at the Kirkwood Temple CME Church that she preferred a woman for the job.
If she hasn’t already, expect Johnson to reach out to State District Civil Court Judge Tonya Parker, a rising star who people close to Johnson say has always been her first choice as a successor.
But Parker is on a path for greater accomplishments in the judicial field, perhaps a federal court appointment. Who knows? Before Johnson’s announcement, Parker wasn’t expected to be a contender.
If Parker gets in the race, she’ll be a formidable candidate, particularly with Johnson’s backing.
Whether it’s Parker or someone else, Johnson’s endorsement will be a factor in the contest.
Which elected officials will get into the race?
It’s a fascinating question.
Let’s start with state Sen. Royce West, who with Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price and Johnson, is considered one of the titans of southern Dallas politics. Earlier this year West was bullish about replacing Johnson. Over the summer he seemed to cool to the idea. Now that Johnson has said she’s leaving, West has to mull over a candidacy in earnest, and he’s been approached by supporters to run for the seat.
West would be a front-runner in the primary. Perhaps he would win. That’s why his final decision is critical to how this contest ends.
There are other factors involving elected leaders.
State Reps. Yvonne Davis, Toni Rose and Jasmine Crockett of Dallas, along with Carl Sherman of DeSoto, are considering campaigns for District 30.
Davis and Rose are veteran lawmakers with established political bases. Sherman’s turf includes DeSoto, where you can find a treasure trove of voters, and he’s in the mix for Johnson’s support, if she can’t find a woman she wants to back.
Crockett, who is used to running against the establishment, has raised her name recognition and was a leading voice in the resistance House Democrats staged against the polices of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.
All of these lawmakers would have to give up their seats in the Legislature to run for Congress, so there’s a risk involved for everyone.
Will there be a surprise candidate?
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson on Monday said he wasn’t interested in replacing Eddie Bernice Johnson in Congress. Given his name recognition, he would have reset the race.
Congressional seats don’t often become available. Eddie Bernice Johnson, who will turn 86 next month, has held her post since 1993. So a surprise candidate with credentials and backing could emerge.
That’s what happened in 2019, when Eric Johnson surprisingly joined the crowded field for Dallas mayor.
You can also expect the District 30 race to be settled through a runoff election, since it’s unlikely that one candidate will get over 50% of the vote in the first round.
According to weather reports, in northern Texas, folks should be prepared to experience cooler weather, really soon.
Actually some forecasters mention “cold” weather.
Now, while I studied journalism, I don’t have the receipts to present myself as a weatherperson, meteorologist or even weather anchor. However, I can tell you this — things are about to heat up in Texas!
Just this week, for instance, former United States Representative Beto O’Rourke announced that he is a candidate for Texas Governor and U.S. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson says she will be making an important announcement this Saturday at Kirkwood Temple Gymnasium. Mr. O’Rourke, who also ran for Senate and the Presidency, will host a rally and town hall meeting at Paul Quinn College and a huge crowd is expected, many will also be candidates for various positions.
Folks are asking, “Can Beto beat Greg Abbott?”
Well, for sure he can’t if he doesn’t run!
They are also asking, “Is Congresswoman Johnson going to seek another term?”
The larger question is, are Democrats going to galvanize their forces and pool their resources to get out the vote!
And still there are other questions like:
Can the pettiness of politics take a back seat to a concerted effort to turn Texas blue?
Can elected officials who are not on the ballot this time around, step down off of their thrones and vigorously campaign?
Will those elected officials or candidates without an opponent still campaign with all of their might?
Will the Democratic Party (nationally and locally) avoid endorsing in the primary?
Will the Black female vote be respected?
Will candidates advertise in the Black press, where some of the most loyal Democratic voters look for information?
So many questions and so few answers.
Time and time again I have been told that Democrats like to slaughter their own; that they fight hard against one another but are really scared to fight Republicans.
I know some tough Democrats, some really tough ones; but I also know some wimpy, lazy ones also, and we need them all!
Clearly we’re in a sadder state than anyone could imagine if Black people are looking at U.S. Census numbers and they agree to roll over and play dead today because of what is expected in 2040.
Which brings me to my truth.
You remember the saying, don’t you? Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their _________! You enter the word!
Because now, and forever more, is the time for YOU to get up off your butt and vote. You must come to the aid of your people or the suffering will only get worse.
Stay tuned because not only is it going to get hotter; it’s going to get rougher!