Radiation therapy is one of the three primary forms of medical treatment used in the fight against cancer. Radiation therapy can be used both to treat cancer and to reduce symptoms associated with cancer such as pain. It may be used alone or in combination with surgery or chemotherapy. Radiation therapy can be used at almost every place in your body. Radiation therapy is a rapidly evolving field of medicine. New techniques allow for higher delivery of radiation doses to cancer cells while limiting dosage to your normal tissue. Some forms of radiation therapy include: Mammosite TM, Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) and Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), External Beam and 3-D conformal radiation. The length of time for radiation therapy varies according to type of therapy provided and the cancer being treated.
3-D Conformal Radiation
3-D Conformal Radiation Therapy is a high-technology technique that allows radiation beams to be shaped to the contour of the treatment area by using computer simulation. This allows radiation beams to treat the cancerous area and reduces exposure to nearby healthy tissue. This technique is used routinely for most patients undergoing radiation therapy.
External Beam Radiation
One of the most common forms of radiation therapy, external beam radiation treats your cancer from the outside of the body into the cancer through the use of "beams" of radiation. External beam radiation is delivered through a linear accelerator --a high energy x-ray machine. In conjunction with CT scan images and based on extensive planning, the linear accelerator directs radiation beams to the organs and tissues affected by cancer. Typically, external beam radiation treatments last under 15 minutes. External beam radiation is usually delivered 5 days a week for several weeks, depending on cancer type. The procedure itself causes no pain. The most common side effect to external beam radiation is skin irritation.
High-Dose Rate Brachytherapy:
High-Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy is form of internal radiotherapy (radiation treatments) At the James E. Cary Cancer Center, high dose radiation is currently used for the treatment of breast cancer with the MammositeTM technique.
Brachytherapy is a quick and powerful way that gives radiation treatments by placing the radiation inside the treatment site. This technique ensures the maximum radiation dose is given where you need it most and minimizing exposure to other areas.
The James E. Cary Cancer Center, a service of Hannibal Regional Hospital and the Hannibal Clinic is pleased to offer MammoSite® 5-Day Targeted Radiation Therapy as a breast conserving treatment option for patients with early stage breast cancer. This form of treatment is also known as Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation and involves surgical placement of a balloon catheter following lumpectomy. MammoSiteTM Therapy works by delivering radiation from within the lumpectomy cavity, directly to the tissue surrounding the cavity, where cancer is most likely to recur.
MammoSiteTM 5-Day Targeted Radiation Therapy offers patients with early stage breast cancer the opportunity to complete their radiation treatment in 5 days, as opposed to whole breast treatment which can takes 6 weeks and can cause many logistical problems for patients, such as juggling work schedules and arranging for transportation to and from treatments.
Results from a four year clinical study completed by the American Society of Breast Surgeons indicate that 95% of women treated had good to excellent cosmetic results and that the local recurrence rate of cancer is below 3%. Other surveys indicate that 98% of women who receive Mammosite would recommend that treatment to family and friends and family.
More information can be found at www.mammosite.com
Radioactive iodine is administered in pill form following a thyroidectomy for the purpose of ablating, or destroying, remaining thyroid tissues for patients with common thyroid cancers. This procedure is administered at Hannibal Regional Hospital in the Nuclear Medicine Department under the direction of the Radiation Oncologist of the James E. Cary Cancer Center. Following radioiodine ablation, the patient needs to adhere closely to safety guidelines that will be explained in detail.
Radioactive Iodine may also be used to treat overactive thyroid conditions.
Strontium or Samarium are radioactive medicines used for bone pain from cancer.