Radiation oncology, also called radiation therapy, uses radiation to kill cancer cells. Used by itself or with cancer-fighting medicines or surgery, radiation is one of the most effective cancer treatments available. Radiation may be used to shrink a tumor before surgery so that it can be removed more easily, or it can be used after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells. In some cases, radiation without surgery may be the most appropriate treatment against certain types of cancer.
The goal of any radiation treatment is to target specific tumors with the exact amount of radiation required, while minimizing exposure to surrounding normal, healthy tissue.
Many patients who receive radiation therapy at the Dale and Frances Hughes Cancer Center will receive external-beam radiation treatments from one of our linear accelerators. These highly accurate machines beam radiation into the tumor from outside your body. You will not feel the radiation pass through your skin.
The actual treatment takes only two to three minutes. By using the latest treatment and planning technologies, we are able to target your cancer with pinpoint accuracy and reduce the amount of time you need to spend receiving treatments.
In addition, the Dale and Frances Hughes Cancer is the first hospital in the region to offer the Edge™ Radiosurgery System, a brand new, minimally invasive technology used to treat a wide range of cancerous and noncancerous tumors throughout the body including those of the lung, brain and spine. The Edge is a state-of-the-art radiation machine optimized to deliver stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), which means fewer treatments with incredible precision and accuracy. Using the combination of high technology imaging and radiation, Edge radiosurgery is capable of delivering higher doses of radiation to destroy cancer cells. There’s no cutting, no anesthesia and no in-hospital stay with this treatment.
During treatment with Edge, patients lie comfortably for only a few minutes while the machine delivers the precisely targeted radiotherapy in as few as one to five treatments. Most people are able to carry on their daily activities without feeling tired or run down after treatment.
Your doctor will prescribe a detailed, individualized treatment plan specific to your needs. Your course of therapy will be based on precise measurements gathered from a physical examination and from diagnostic imaging, such as computer tomography (CT scan) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The Dale and Frances Hughes Cancer Center has also piloted the technology of image-guided radiation therapy, which allows your doctor to track the location and movement of the tumor while you are on the treatment table.
Types of Radiation Therapy
What to Expect From Radiation Therapy