Physician Discussing Patient's Needs With Oncology Nurse
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Radiation Oncology Services

The Radiation Oncology department at The Diagnostic & Treatment Center is staffed with highly skilled professionals. A radiation oncologist, radiation therapists, physicists, a dosimetrist, a registered nurse, and a patient coordinator work together to ensure the best patient experience and excellent patient care.

Radiation Therapy:

Radiation therapy is the use of radiation to safely and effectively treat cancer. The goal of radiation therapy is to treat cancer without harming surrounding organs and tissue, thus maintaining the patient’s quality of life.

Radiation therapy treatments:

  • Can be used to cure cancer, control the growth of cancer, or relieve cancer symptoms
  • Can be used to treat symptoms of some specific benign tumors
  • Can be applied externally on an outpatient basis
  • Can be applied internally (brachytherapy), in which radiation is sealed within needles, seeds, wires, or catheters and placed directly in or near the tumor

The Diagnostic & Treatment Center offers state-of-the-art cancer treatment using some of the newest equipment and the latest technology. The highly trained and experienced staff of Radiation Oncology combines compassionate care with highly accurate treatments to create an atmosphere where our patients can be comfortable and confident with their treatment.

Radiation Treatment Planning:

  • Treatment planning is necessary in order to obtain the essential patient anatomic information required to create unique, individualized patient treatment plans.
  • A simulation appointment is scheduled to help gather data for treatment planning; a CT scan is generally completed at that time to gather the data required for treatment planning.
  • During the simulation appointment, devices will be created to help ensure a comfortable, reproducible patient position for the CT scan and for daily treatment setup.
  • Our large bore, 16-slice CT scanner is optimal for patient comfort with its faster scan time and larger bore opening.
  • The CT scanner is also equipped with respiratory gating and 4D capabilities that allow for even more detail regarding the tumor movement during the breathing cycle. This technology allows for more precise radiation plans and treatment.
  • The radiation oncologist will then work closely with a dosimetrist in order to create the best plan for each patient.
  • The patient’s medical information as well as the pathological information of the patient’s cancer will be taken into account when designing the radiation fields and radiation plan.

External Beam Radiation:

  • External beam radiation is most often given as a series of outpatient treatments, typically five days a week.
  • Radiation treatment allows many patients to continue normal daily activities, such as school, work, and/or family life.
  • External beam radiation directs radiation from a machine to a patient lying on the treatment table.
  • The actual treatment takes only a few minutes and does not cause any physical sensation for the patient; however, patient setup and necessary imaging will usually require the patient to remain in position for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • External beam radiation will most often utilize one of many devices created during treatment planning; these devices can help provide a comfortable and reproducible position for the patient.

3-D Conformal Treatment Planning:

  • A certified medical dosimetrist works with a radiation oncologist to create a custom treatment plan for each patient.
  • This planning provides a three-dimensional reconstruction of the tumor and the surrounding healthy tissue.
  • More precision in aiming the radiation at the tumor can be obtained.
  • This planning can be used in conjunction with PET/CT scans to provide the best care.

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT):

  • IMRT shapes a treatment beam to fit the contours of its target.
  • With computerized “sculpting,” high radiation doses can be delivered to a tumor while sparing normal surrounding tissue and organs; as such, healthy tissue damage and side effects can be minimized.
  • Many cancer types and most sites of cancer benefit greatly from this treatment modality as critical structures surrounding the tumor area can be spared and dose minimized to the normal surrounding tissue.

Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT):

  • IGRT is an advanced form of patient positioning.
  • CT images or static images are utilized to adjust and accommodate for variances in patient positioning from day to day.
  • This technology allows therapists to return patients to customized, precise positions for repeated treatments over the course of the days or weeks.
  • The treatment table will remotely move, or shift, once the determined patient position has been identified for precise, accurate treatments. Patients will likely feel the table move slightly during this process.
  • The imaging capabilities of the linear accelerator at The Diagnostic & Treatment Center allow for the use of IGRT for many patient treatments.

Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT):

  • SBRT deliver very high doses of therapeutic radiation to a highly selective group of patients with isolated small tumors in the lung and liver.
  • This technique can decrease the treatment course from approximately 35 treatments to 3-5 treatments with similar, to potentially improved outcomes.
  • The DTC began treating with SBRT January of 2016.

Integrated Care:

Radiation therapy can be used for patients with many types of cancer. Cancer can be treated either with radiation alone or in conjunction with surgery and/or chemotherapy. The health professionals in the Radiation Oncology department at The Diagnostic & Treatment Center work closely and collaborate with health care professionals from Medical Oncology, Surgeons, Pathologists, and other cancer specialists and health care professionals in order to provide the most effective treatment possible.

Additional Information:

If you would like additional information, the following websites may be helpful:

For any questions or to make an appointment with our healthcare specialists, please call 715-393-2300.