Lourdes Radiation Oncologists work together with their colleagues in other disciplines, such as surgery and medical oncology, to provide patients with the widest range and combination of therapies for cancer care.
Lourdes Radiation Oncologists offer all variety of radiation therapy, including:
BrachytherapyTiny canisters of radioactive materials called "seeds" can be implanted in the body to deliver carefully localized radiation treatment. This treatment is particularly effective for prostate cancer.
External Beam RadiationRadiation therapy uses high-energy rays or particles to kill cancer cells. External beam radiation therapy focuses energy on the tumor from a source outside your body. It is much like getting an X-ray but for a longer period of time. Before you start treatments, you must first have a series of imaging studies such as MRIs, CT scans, or plain x-rays so that doctors know exactly where your tumor is located within the body. Technicians will probably mark your body with ink that will help to guide your treatments. External beam radiation lasts only a few minutes and is painless.
Aside from being used as a treatment for cancer, external beam radiation can also be used to help relieve bone pain when the cancer has spread to a specific area of bone.
Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)At Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County, radiation oncologists also perform Image-Guided Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IGRT), an ultrasound-based technology that provides unparalleled tumor targeting and control.
Currently, the treatment is being used for prostate tumors and allows doctors to pinpoint the tumor with laser accuracy. The data is fed into a computer that controls a linear accelerator. Lead "leaves" shape the beam, which can be pointed at the patient from different directions.
Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) utilizes computer-controlled X-ray accelerators to deliver precise radiation doses to a malignant tumor. The IMRT technology is so advanced that the accelerator can be programmed to actually wrap and angle beams of radiation around normal tissue and organs, protecting "good cells" as they destroy the tumor.
IMRT focuses concentrated radiation on the affected site, to get higher radiation doses to the tumor and spare the normal tissue, even in cases where the normal tissue is side-by-side with the tumor. In other words, this procedure allows pinpoint accuracy to control tumors. It results in more radiation to the tumor and less to surrounding healthy tissue.
IMRT can be used effectively to treat a number of different cancers. They include cancers of the:
- Head and neck
- Left breast
- Pancreas and Gastrointestinal system
IMRT also can be used for the treatment of gynecological, liver and brain tumors, lymphomas, sarcomas and pediatric malignancies.
In order to pinpoint the exact location of the tumor, doctors use several types of scanning procedures, including computed tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Each IMRT treatment session lasts 15 to 20 minutes, and may occur over several weeks on an outpatient basis. Like conventional beam radiation, IMRT is painless. However, because IMRT can direct a higher dose of radiation to cancer cells and spare surrounding healthy cells from unnecessary exposure, tumor control is much better and patients experience fewer side effects. As a result, patients remain stronger and lead more normal lives during treatment.