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Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is located on the first floor of The Compton Center. With years of experience and a wide range of knowledge, our Radiation Oncology team creates a warm, inviting atmosphere that helps make our patients comfortable while undergoing treatments.

Understanding Radiation Therapy

In radiation therapy, high-energy rays damage cancer cells to stop them from growing and dividing. Like surgery, radiation therapy is essentially a local treatment, affecting cancer cells only in the treated area. The radiation can come from a machine, known as external radiation therapy, or an implant, known as internal radiation therapy.

Patients typically receive external radiation therapy five days a week for several weeks. Many patients do not have to stay at the hospital when they receive external radiation. Some patients receive both kinds of radiation therapy.

Side effects of radiation therapy depend on dose and the part of the body that is treated. The most common side effects are tiredness, skin reactions such as a rash or redness in the treated area, and loss of appetite. Although the side effects of radiation therapy can be unpleasant, they can usually be treated or controlled and are rarely permanent.

Advanced Treatment Options

Atrium offers cancer treatment options found at the nation’s leading hospitals.  They include:

  • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) gives radiation oncologists the power to "sculpt" the edges of a tumor with precision, sparing the neighboring healthy tissue. CT scans, PET scans, and MRIs are used to help determine the exact position of the tumor. IMRT works by breaking a single radiation beam into 128 ultra-thin fields. Radiation oncologists then deliver a higher dose of radiation by modifying the beam to the precise size, shape and angle of the tumor. Patients experience significantly lower side effects and are offered the potential of higher cure rates with IMRT. IMRT can be used to treat tumors that might have been considered untreatable in the past, due to close proximity of vital organs and structures.

  • Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) complements IMRT and involves taking a CT scan of the affected area just before delivering the radiation. The resulting three-dimensional images allow the radiation oncologist to make tiny yet significant adjustments to the radiation beam entrance in order to target the therapy and spare healthy surrounding tissues and organs.

  • High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy is another highly powerful technique. In HDR Brachytherapy, a small applicator is surgically placed inside or very near the tumor. Then a computer-controlled machine pushes a tiny, seed-like radiation source through the applicator to the site of the cancer. Brachytherapy is commonly used for lung cancer and gynecologic cancer. This technique has also been used to put a radiation source directly into the breast.

  • MammoSite® Partial Breast Treatment is a breast cancer therapy process that happens over a few days. After the surgeon removes the tumor, a MammoSite® Partial Breast Treatment balloon attached to a thin catheter is placed at the tumor site. The catheter is used to place a radiation seed into the balloon. Treatment is typically five days. After this, the balloon is removed through the same incision that was used to remove the tumor.

  • Prostate Seed Implantation uses tiny radioactive pellets or seeds that are placed in or near the prostate cancer tumor. Cancer cells are killed by the energy given off as the low dose rate radioactive material decays or breaks down over a period of several weeks or months. This leaves no radioactive material in the prostate gland. The procedure takes about one hour and most patients are back to a normal routine within a day or two.

  • Our Elekta Synergy Linear Accelerator is a cutting-edge delivery system, which allows us to deliver the strongest radiation dose possible without the harsh side effects of years ago.External beam therapy is used to aim highly focused beams of radiation to the site where cancer is found in order to destroy any abnormal cells and prevent the growth or regrowth of the tumor.

Learn more about Radiation Therapy.