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Radiation Therapy

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Texas Oncology’s radiation oncologists use the most advanced treatment planning systems and state-of-the-art radiation technology to deliver radiation to cancerous cells, making it quicker, safer, and more precise than ever before. Radiation therapy is a cancer-fighting treatment that damages or destroys cancerous cells by preventing them from growing or dividing while minimizing adverse effects on nearby healthy organs and tissues.

Simulation and Treatment Planning  

The radiation oncology treatment process begins with a consultation, where the patient meets with their physician and radiation therapy team. During the consultation, every part of the patient’s treatment is planned, including determining the correct body position for treatment, taking imaging scans, making reference marks for the positions on the skin, and virtual simulation of the treatment.

Treatment Methods 

Radiation therapy is delivered to patients externally or internally. External radiation therapy uses high-energy X-ray or electron beams delivered by a linear accelerator and aimed at specific points on the body’s surface. Internal radiation therapy involves the implantation of radioactive material directly into the body.

External Radiation Therapy 

  • Linear Accelerators: Linear accelerators deliver standard doses of external radiation to cancer tumors and include intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), an advanced form of noninvasive radiation treatment that enables radiation oncologists to precisely target tumor cells.
  • Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) Technology: IGRT technologies provide image-guidance and verification capabilities during radiation treatment. Examples include external portal imaging device/computerized radiography, Varian On-Board Imager® (OBI) with Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT), ExacTrac®, and ultrasound.
  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) and Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT): SRS uses a computer-guided therapy system to treat tumors and other abnormalities of the brain. SBRT is used to treat malignant or benign small to medium size tumors in the body. Both are non-surgical procedures that deliver precisely-targeted radiation at much higher doses than traditional radiation therapy with minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue. SRS and SBRT are important alternatives to invasive surgery.
  • Specialty Delivery: Specialized delivery systems include RapidArc, Elekta Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT), and gating.

Internal Radiation Therapy 

  • Low Dose Rate (LDR) Brachytherapy Radioactive Seed Implants: LDR brachytherapy treatment involves the use of radioactive materials inserted into body tissue in close proximity to the tumor to deliver low dose radiation in a permanent or temporary application. LDR brachytherapy is most often used to treat prostate and gynecologic cancers.
  • High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy: HDR brachytherapy utilizes radioactive material inserted into applicators within body cavities or tissues in close proximity to the tumor allowing for a high dose of radiation to be delivered precisely to the tumor volume. HDR brachytherapy is used to treat breast, gynecologic, and prostate cancers. Examples include MammoSite®, Contura balloon, SAVI applicator, and AccuBoost.

Enabling Technology 

Radiation oncology information systems enable the flow of information among physicians and clinical staff, in addition to capturing and recording key patient information. IMPAC MOSIAQ and Varian ARIA are comprehensive patient management systems that integrate patient data into a single, organized, oncology-specific medical chart. This technology can record and verify a patient’s specialized treatment plan. All information in the patient’s chart is stored in this system and is available at every workstation, saving time and ensuring quality control for each individual’s specific treatment.