Radiation Oncology

Radiation Treatment for Cancer

Radiation therapy is a proven and effective way to treat many kinds of cancer in almost any part of the body. The Regional Cancer Center’s Radiation Oncology Department offers state-of-the-art cancer treatment technology. For many patients, radiation is the only kind of treatment needed, and many are cancer-free after having radiation treatments alone or in combination with surgery, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

What Is Radiation Oncology?

Radiation therapy effectively treats cancer by using high-energy beams to pinpoint and destroy cancerous cells. Around 50 to 60 percent of cancer patients will receive some form of radiation during the course of their disease. Radiation can be used to cure or control cancer, and to reduce the severity of pain.

The first part of planning an individual's radiation treatment requires a simulation. This involves mapping the area that will be treated. Every attempt is made to ensure patient comfort during the simulation, which takes about 10 minutes. Patients are not required to hold their breath, and there is no sensation that results from the simulation. Some marks will be placed on the patient to determine where future radiation treatments will be aimed. Following the simulation, patients are given an appointment time to come back and begin their actual radiation treatments.

Mammosite Treatment for Breast Cancer

During mammosite treatment, a breast surgeon positions a balloon catheter into the lumpectomy cavity. To deliver the required amount of radiation, a tiny radioactive source is placed inside the balloon catheter by a computer-controlled machine. Placement is guided with CT images and treatment planning software.

The source is left in the balloon for less than 10 minutes. During this time the patient is receiving radiation to a targeted area around the lumpectomy cavity. This method of treatment reduces exposure to the whole breast, chest wall, heart and lungs.