Radiation Therapy Treatment 

Approach to Treatment

 

Taylor Regional Radiation Oncology’s (TRRO) radiation oncologist is an expert in the most innovative radiation therapies which allows them to precisely target the tumor and limit radiation exposure to surrounding normal tissues.  Almost ten years ago, the practice became one of the first in the region to offer intensity-modulated radiation therapy to treat tumors with more pinpoint accuracy.

TRRO continues to provide the latest technologies to reduce treatment side effects.  We offer CT/PET treatment planning to patients to avoid heart and lung exposure.  Additionally, our radiation oncologists working with professional medical dosimetrist and medical physicists continue to find ways to deliver more precisely targeted and powerful therapies to eliminate tumors and save normal disease-free tissue.

Treatment Types//

External Beam Radiation Therapy

  • Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT) – uses computer software and advanced machines to deliver radiation to exactly shaped targets in site including the brain, breast, gastrointestinal region, head and neck, lung, and prostate.

  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) – uses hundreds of radiation beam shaping leaves to deliver a single dose.  The radiation beam intensity is varied to allow different tumor area or surrounding tissues to receive differing radiation doses.  A computer program calculates the number of beams and angles of delivery needed in sites including the prostate, head and neck, central nervous system, lung, gastrointestinal and gynecologic regions.

  • Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) – repeated CT, MRI or PET scans can be performed during treatment to increase target accuracy and spare normal tissue.  Computers process the scans to identify tumor size and location changes so the patients position or radiation dose can be adjusted during treatment in regions prone to movement like the prostate.

  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) – delivers radiation therapy to small isolated tumors in fewer sessions using smaller radiation fields and higher doses at sites including lungs, abdomen, spine, prostate, and head and neck.

Our Equipment //

Varian 2300EX Linear Accelerator

Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

 

  • Delivers high doses of radiation to the tumor while sparing adjacent healthy normal tissue.

  • Used to treat tumors that are in close proximity to vital organs and structures and thus may have been once considered untreatable.

  • Utilizes a multi-leaf collimator that shapes and varies the intensity of the radiation in accordance with a computer-generated treatment plan.

  • The multi-leaf collimator eliminates the need for the therapists to enter and leave the room to insert lead beam shaping blocks thus shortening the treatment time.

  • The patient is positioned once per treatment rather than multiple times.

  • Coupled with early detection IMRT technology can offer higher treatment cure rates than previously.

Linear Accelerator with On-Board Imager

 

  • On-Board Imager is mounted to the linear accelerator via robotically controlled arms which can be positioned optimally to view the tumor or patient position witho9ut ever having to move the patient.

  • Takes high resolution X-ray images to pinpoint the tumor site and automatically adjust the patient position.

  • Yields digital images via a flat panel x-ray detector showing internal landmarks with a high degree of precision so treatments can be delivered from virtually any angle.

Portal Imaging

 

  • On-Board Imager is mounted to the linear accelerator via robotically controlled arms which can be positioned optimally to view the tumor or patient position without ever having to move the patient.

  • Takes high resolution X-ray images to pinpoint the tumor site and automatically adjust the patient position.

  • Yields digital images via a flat panel x-ray detector showing internal landmarks with a high degree of precision so treatments can be delivered from virtually any angle.

GE CT Scanner

On site CT scanner provides detailed cross-sectional view to accurately position the patient and define treatment volumes.

 

State of the art image quality:

  • Scan data transferred to treatment planning computer systems for immediate review

  • Allows easier access and convenience for patients

  • Provides clear and accurate information for radiation treatment planning

Treatment Planning //

Your Radiation Oncologist will develop a personalized treatment plan for you by using a state of the art Eclipse computer system from Varian Medical Systems through a process called treatment planning which begins with a simulation.

A CT scan acquired in your treatment position is used for treatment planning.  To reproduce this position for your daily treatments aquaplast head masks, vac-lock body molds or other devices may be utilized.  Your Radiation Oncologist will also use diagnostic studies such as PET, MRI and CT scans which can be imported into the Eclipse planning system, in conjunction with the treatment planning CT scan.  The Radiation Oncologist with determine the exact area that will be treated.  The goal is to deliver the prescribed dose of radiation to the tumor with minimizing the dose to the normal tissue.

The staff working with the Radiation Oncologist include physicists and dosimetrists who use sophisticated computers to design your treatment plan specific to you.  The physicist and dosimetrist under the direction of your Radiation Oncologist determine the optimal angles for radiation delivery and preform the necessary calculations to deliver the prescribed dose.

Chemotherapy Information //

Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to shrink or kill cancer cells.  It is tailored to treat your specific type and stage of cancer.  Delivery methods include:

  • Intravenous (IV) medication – the most common chemotherapy.  Medication is directly injected (infused) into a vein through an IV

  • Oral medication – taken as a pill often at home

  • Topical cream or lotion – a cream to rub on cancerous skin

  • Direct placement – maybe injected into the spinal fluid or into the brain

Chemotherapy Types

  • Targeted chemotherapy – uses drugs to attack certain cancer cell parts needed for growth and development.  Two main targeted therapy drugs are:

  • Antibody drugs – derived from immune system proteins.  The body make antibodies to fight germs, which also can be used to target cancer cell

  • Small-molecule drugs – attach to specific cancer cell area, resulting in fewer side effects because they do not attach to normal cells

  • Enzyme inhibitors – block cell signals to prevent cancer growth

  • Apoptosis-inducing drugs – therapies designed to trigger cancer cell death.  Some targeted therapies change cancer cell proteins to induce cell destruction

  • Angiogenesis inhibitors – used to stop tumors from making new blood vessels that feed them

Chemotherapy Side Effects

  • Fatigue

  • Higher infection rates

  • Fever

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Appetite loss

  • Low platelet counts that lead to bleeding problems

  • Irritation or sore mouth (mucositis)

  • Diarrhea or constipation

  • Hair loss (alopecia) over the body

  • Skin and nail bed changes

  • Menstrual irregularities of menses cessation

  • Concentration or short-term memory problems

At the Cancer Center at Taylor Regional Hospital Medical Oncology, including chemotherapy and blood therapy, services are provided but are separate from Taylor Regional Radiation Oncology.  Call 270-789-9999 ext. #1 for more information.

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