Cancer Treatment

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is one of the three traditional primary forms of medical treatment used to treat your cancer, and for relief of symptoms. It may be used alone or in combination with surgery or chemotherapy, almost anywhere within your body. Innovative new techniques have evolved and are still evolving, enabling delivery of higher radiation doses to cancer cells and limited doses to your normal tissue.

One of the most commonly used forms of radiation therapy is external beam radiation therapy. This technique involves directing a beam of radiation from outside your body, focused on the cancerous internal organ and/or tissue within your body. External beam radiation may be used in conjunction with surgery, chemotherapy and other treatment methods. External beam radiation uses a linear accelerator, a high-energy x-ray machine, to direct radiation to a tumor. Recent advances in radiation therapy can more accurately target the tumor with higher doses of radiation, while minimizing damage to your healthy tissue.

Other forms of radiation therapy include:

3D Conformal Radiation

A computer simulation produced an accurate image of a tumor and surrounding organs so that multiple radiation beams can be shaped exactly to the contour of the treatment area. Because radiation beams are precisely focused, nearby normal tissue is spared.

IMRT Radiation

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy or IMRT has been called the most significant breakthrough in radiation treatment in the past 30 years. A powerful computer program is used to plan a precise dose of radiation in 3 dimensions based on tumor size, shape and location. IMRT radiation directs radiation to the tumor and modulates the intensity of pencil-thin beams of radiation with laser accuracy. This form of radiation may be used to treat difficult to reach tumors with new levels of accuracy such as tumors to the spine, head, neck, prostate, lung, liver and brain. IMRT radiation allows higher radiation doses then traditional methods would allow in these areas, while sparing more of the surrounding healthy tissue, compared to standard radiation.

HDR Brachytherapy

High-Dose Rate Brachytherapy or HDR Brachytherapy is an innovative form of internal radiotherapy (radiation treatments), and provides a quicker, more effective way to give radiation treatments. HDR Brachytherapy places the radiation inside your tumor, tightly focused within the site of the cancer. This technique ensures the maximum radiation dose is given where you need it most, while allowing little radiation to reach the healthy surrounding tissue.

MammoSite Radiation Therapy System (RTS)

MammoSite Radiation, FDA-approved in May 2002, is a simpler, less invasive method of delivering breast brachytherapy, a site-specific radiation treatment completed in four to five days, as compared to seven weeks for traditional external beam radiation therapy. The new device delivers radiation directly to the area where a breast tumor has been surgically removed via lumpectomy, which is the site where tumors are most likely to recur. With its site-specific approach, MammoSite avoids external beam therapy side effects, such as the irradiation of healthy tissue. Brachytherapy is the first breast cancer treatment to deliver radiation directly to the original tumor site and decrease radiation time. While standard breast brachytherapy involves surgically implanting up to 24 catheters into the breast, MammoSite calls for just a single catheter to perform the therapy.

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