Radiation therapy can be used alone or in combination with surgery and/or chemotherapy. Today's highly advanced equipment allows radiation to be directed more precisely to the cancer site, while limiting the exposure to normal, nearby tissue. Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center offers the most innovative and advanced radiation therapies including:
- 3D conformal radiation therapy delivered by a linear accelerator, a sophisticated machine that externally delivers high-energy radiation to destroy cancer cells and their ability to reproduce. Radiation therapy may also be used to relieve pain or other symptoms that can accompany cancer. The equipment in the Sister Theresa Cancer Care Center has special features which allow the delivery of higher doses of radiation due to dramatically more precise field placement. This provides a greater opportunity for destroying cancer cells and less potential for damaging healthy tissue.
- High-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy, a treatment technique that places radiation sources within the body as close as possible to the tumor, ensuring the maximum radiation dose is given where it's needed most, while sparing healthy surrounding tissue. HDR brachytherapy is most commonly used for cancers of the breast, cervix, lung, prostate, rectum, tongue and uterus.
- MammoSite, a form of brachytherapy specifically used for breast cancer that allows physicians to provide an internally administered, site-specific, five-day course of radiation therapy following the removal of a breast tumor through lumpectomy.
- Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), a state-of-the-art delivery system that is considered the most significant breakthrough in radiation treatment in over 30 years. IMRT is used to treat difficult-to-reach tumors, particularly tumors in the head, neck, and prostate. More so than any other technology, IMRT allows cancer experts to use higher radiation intensities on target areas, without damaging normal surrounding tissue.
- Intraoperative radiation therapy, involving the delivery of a large dose of external radiation directly to the tumor site at the time of surgery.