High-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy involves implanting a single HDR radioactive source through computer guidance into a confined area where the cancer is present. This source gives off high doses of radiation that destroy the cancer cells, sparing normal surrounding tissues. The source is removed immediately after each treatment session. Gynecological cancer, including cervical and endometrial, is the primary site for this technique. It also may be used for the treatment of certain prostate cancers, breast malignancies, lung cancer, esophageal cancer and other cancer sites.
Body radiosurgery involves the targeting of multiple, finely contoured radiation beams that are directed to the cancer site from many different angles. As a result of the system’s 3-D imaging and visual guidance capabilities, internal organs that could not be treated in the past can receive treatment with this technology, with minimum radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. Commonly treated sites with body radiosurgery include the lungs, pancreas and liver. This technique is particularly useful in treating sites that have been previously treated with radiation therapy.
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) represents a major advancement in 3-D conformal radiotherapy. It involves the manipulation of radiation beams through advanced computer-controlled technology to change the intensity of the beam profile around both tumor and normal tissues. As a result, IMRT is delivered to multiple, more complex conformal treatment fields, dramatically reducing the dose delivered to normal tissues and potentially reducing the incidence of any side effects from the treatment. The dose conformality of IMRT treatments sometimes allows for the treatment of sites that have already received radiation treatments.
Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)
The latest breakthrough in conformal radiation therapy is the use of image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), which allows for the adjustment of treatment fields on a daily basis for the normal movements of organs within the patient’s body. These techniques ensure that the proper treatment area is treated each and every day, regardless of organ motion. IGRT techniques performed at Community Medical Center include cone beam imaging, 3-D ultrasonic imaging and the use of radiocameras.
Mammosite and SAVI (strut-assisted volume implant) procedures are high-dose rate (HDR) procedures that deliver localized radiation therapy to the breast of select patients who have had a lumpectomy for breast cancer. There are a number of eligibility criteria for these procedures, including the patient’s age, the tumor’s size and the tumor’s location in the breast.
These HDR procedures involve the placement of a catheter in the lumpectomy cavity to deliver a high dose of radiation right at the site of the tumor, while limiting exposure to the normal, healthy surrounding tissue. After five days of treatment, the catheter is removed and the area is closed with a small bandage.
Community Medical Center offers free transportation service for radiation oncology patients. For more information, call 732-557-8148.
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