Advancements in Radiation Therapy Reduce Side Effects
- Department of:
- Adena Regional Medical Center
Radiation therapy treats cancer by shrinking tumors and killing cancer cells. Thanks to great advances made in the field, today’s technology allows doctors to precisely pinpoint tumors, avoiding as much healthy tissue as possible. And this means patients can receive higher radiation doses with far fewer side effects, which dramatically shortens their treatment time and increases their chances for survival.
Adena’s 9,000-square-foot radiation oncology unit includes two linear accelerators and one CT simulator. The CT simulator is used to analyze the body and mark the skin, allowing doctors to design a specific radiation plan that spares healthy tissue. The linear accelerator delivers high-energy X-rays to the tumor for various radiation therapy approaches.
To improve accuracy even more, Adena uses gated respiratory therapy treatment. “As the doctors are planning your treatment, this allows the technology to synchronize with the patient’s breathing,” explains manager of radiation oncology at Adena. “This provides a more precise delivery of radiation because tumors can move while breathing.”
The Adena Cancer Center offers an array of radiation treatment options, including:
Stereotactic Body Radiation therapy (SBRT)
Used to deliver precise bursts of radiation to the tumor sites, this technology is among the most advanced. Typically, three to five treatments over one to two weeks is all that is necessary.
During this treatment, the linear accelerator aims the radiation beam directly at the cancer. Commonly administered daily Monday through Friday, this treatment can last two to 10 weeks depending on the cancer.
Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
Also using the linear accelerator to direct external radiation to the site of the cancer, IMRT is typically given daily Monday through Friday for five to eight weeks.
Rather than using external beams, this treatment involves placing radioactive material inside the body at the cancer site.
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