Types of Treatment
External Beam Radiation (Teletherapy)
The linear accelerator generates a high-energy radiation beam that precisely targets and conforms to the shape of the tumor. Three-dimensional (3D) conformal treatment and intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) are techniques used to deliver external beam radiation treatments.
Internal Radiation (Brachytherapy)
High-dose radiation (HDR) therapy is advanced treatment whereby radioactive sources are placed directly into or in proximity to the cancer itself, giving a high radiation dose to the tumor while reducing radiation exposure in the healthy surrounding tissue. This is a precise, localized and highly technical treatment. High-dose radiation can be used to treat tumors at various sites such as the uterus, cervix, lung, head and neck, prostate, soft tissue and others.
Stereotactic Radiotherapy and Radiosurgery
Good Samaritan’s Radiation Oncology Department, working in conjunction with the Neurosurgery Department, has stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT). These technologies, which use a highly focused beam of X-ray radiation, are designed to benefit brain tumor patients, as well as those with a variety of non-malignant brain diseases.
Prospective candidates for SRS and SRT have their cases presented in a multidisciplinary conference. Professional participants include radiation oncologists, neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists, neurologists, physicists and nurses. If a patient will benefi t from SRS or SRT, he or she will be offered this highly sophisticated and effective treatment. The experienced team of physicians, physicists and dosimetrists plan the treatment using sophisticated image fusion techniques, (3D) target localization, radiation beam placement software and the micromultileaf collimator. The principal advantage of this technology is that an area of diseased tissue deep within the brain can be destroyed without surgery and the accompanying risk of bleeding and infection.
Moreover, because the treatment is extremely accurate and precise, critical normal tissue can be spared.
Once the optimal treatment plan has been finalized, the treatment will be delivered either with a single high-dose precisely focused series of X-ray beams (SRS) in a single day or with a series of smaller doses (SRT) over several days.
Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy
Another technologic medical advancement, cancer treatment with radiation therapy is available at Good Samaritan. This technology is called intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), the most sophisticated radiation treatment modality available. It is used to treat patients with prostate, head, neck, lung, pancreatic and other cancers in an ultraprecise way. The targeted tumor cells are given high doses of radiation that were previously unachievable by other means, while significantly limiting the radiation dose to the surrounding healthy tissue. With IMRT, these individual beams are modifi ed into tiny segments, which are computer controlled. They are further modulated so the intensity of the beam can change small sections. Therefore, even very unusually shaped tumors surrounding normal tissue (in the middle) can be irradiated to a high dose, while protecting healthy, normal tissue that surrounds or is surrounded by tumor.
Another technical innovation that allows the physician to achieve such exact targeting is the availability of the multileaf collimator. This consists of 120 leaves (like tiny fi ngers) that shape the beam of the radiation and can move in and out of the beam itself based on the computerized plan to modify the individualized radiation beams quickly and accurately.
This technology is exciting because it can accomplish two major goals in cancer treatment: namely, increase the dose and thus the cure rate for specific tumors, while decreasing the unnecessary radiation doses to healthy tissues and thereby decreasing the risk of complications