Radiation Oncology is a field in medicine that uses ionizing radiation to treat both malignant (cancer) and benign (non-cancer) conditions. Radiation therapy or radiotherapy is given as part of cancer treatment to control malignant cells by killing the cells or preventing additional growth. The radiation works by damaging the DNA in the cancer cells so the cells will often die during the process of cell division. Radiation therapy can be delivered externally or internally, depending on the disease.
External Beam Radiation Therapy
External beam radiation therapy is delivered with a machine, called a linear accelerator, that which focuses the radiation at your cancer. The machine rotates around you to deliver the radiation from different directions. The machine will not touch you, and you will not see the radiation beam. You will be placed in the same position for every treatment. We have Varian linear accelerators such as the TrueBeam® and Trilogy®, as well as a CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System® through the Memorial Healthcare System for our external beam treatments.
We treat patients using a variety of image-guided techniques with External Beam Radiation Therapy including:
- CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System
- Stereotactic Body Radiosurgery (SBRT)
- Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS)
- Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT)
- 3D Conformal Radiotherapy (3D-CRT)
CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System
The CyberKnife® is a robot that can move and bend around you to deliver radiation through potentially thousands of angles. This allows the radiation to be concentrated on your tumor and minimizes radiation dose to your normal healthy tissues. The CyberKnife® treatment is precisely focused (SBRT or SRS) and delivered with real-time image guidance to the body and brain.
Internal Radiation Therapy or Brachytherapy
Internal radiation therapy is also called Brachytherapy. A radiation source is put inside your body and delivers radiation to the localized area of treatment. We use high-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy with image-guidance via ultrasound and MRI to deliver interstitial or intracavitary brachytherapy. Interstitial brachytherapy uses catheters to place the encapsulated radioactive material inside or near the tumor. Intracavitary brachytherapy is when a device or catheter is placed inside an existing body cavity such as the vagina, uterus, or breast tumor bed. In both interstitial and intracavitary brachytherapy, the radiation source is removed after your treatment (Source: RadiologyInfo.org).
Types of Radiation Sources for Internal Radiation Therapy
The radiation source can be solid or liquid, and the type of source used depends on your disease and the treatment you need. We offer a variety of types of internal radiation therapy.
- HDR Brachytherapy – used in interstitial and intracavitary brachytherapy treatments
- Radium-223 – used to treat metastatic prostate cancer
- Yttrium-90 – used to treat liver metastasis or liver cancer
- Lutathera® or Lutetium-177 dotatate – used to treat certain neuroendocrine tumors
- Radioactive Iodine – used to treat thyroid cancer and benign thyroid conditions
In treatment of cancer, radiation therapy may be utilized as:
- Curative treatment (to stop the progression of cancer)
- Adjuvant treatment (to prevent a recurrence of cancerous malignancies after other treatments have removed all visible tumor)
- Palliative treatment (to slow growth or reduce the symptoms of an incurable cancer)
Radiation Oncology also has several applications in benign conditions including the treatment of:
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Arterio-Venous Malformation (AVM)
- Acoustic Neuroma
- Glomus Tumor
- Pituitary Adenoma
- Severe thyroid eye disease
- Heterotopic Ossification
- Dupuytren’s Contracture
Radiation Oncology Scheduling Contact Number: (954) 265-4325