Radiation Oncology is a specialty that uses a focused radiation beam to treat a variety of medical conditions. Radiation can be given either alone or in combination with surgery and/or chemotherapy. Our Radiation Oncologist works closely with oncologists and surgeons, such as our Neuro-Oncologist and Neurosurgeons, as part of a multi-disciplinary team to plan the best course of treatment for each patient.
Radiation Therapy Treatment Options
Radiation is a high energy x-ray beam that can be precisely targeted at any location in the body. The patient cannot see, smell, taste, hear or feel the radiation treatment. The radiation beam is shaped so it conforms to the shape of the target and blocks out normal tissue. In order to shape the radiation beam, a 3-dimensional reconstruction of the target area is created on the computer using a CT scan of the patient, and sometimes an MRI scan.
Prior to starting radiation treatment, the patient undergoes a “simulation”. During the simulation, the CT scan is taken in the same position that the patient will be treated. The radiation oncologist maps out target areas on the scans, as well as maps out nearby normal organs. After mapping the area to be treated, a radiation plan is devised. Different techniques can be used to deliver radiation therapy. Our Radiation Oncologist will select the most effective radiation delivery technique to destroy or sterilize abnormal cells while sparing the normal surrounding tissue. Once the radiation oncologist has completed the radiation plan, the patient will start treatment.
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) is an advanced mode of high-precision radiotherapy that not only shapes the radiation beam so that it conforms to the shape of the tumor, but also gives different intensity of radiation in different parts of the radiation beam in order to minimize dose to surrounding normal organs.
- Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) is a highly precise form of radiation therapy that can be used to treat benign and malignant tumors of the brain, as well as other conditions affecting blood vessels and nerves.
- RapidArc® Radiation Therapy is a form of IMRT. RapidArc delivers IMRT during a 360 degree rotation around the patient.
- Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) is the use of frequent imaging during a course of radiation therapy to improve the precision and accuracy of the delivery of radiation.