Radiation Therapy Information
Radiation oncology is the medical specialty focused on the use of radiation therapy (also known as “radiotherapy”) to treat cancer. A physician who specializes in this area of medicine is known as a radiation oncologist. All radiation oncologists at MCA are certified by the American Board of Radiology and possess a wealth of training and experience, with expert knowledge of innovative treatment methods. They meet regularly to discuss individual patient cases and review treatment options to ensure that each patient is given the best possible chance of a successful outcome.
Once a course of treatment has been decided upon, the MCA radiation therapy team uses state-of-the-art technology to design and deliver an optimal treatment plan tailored to your specific condition. You can be confident that our nationally recognized radiation oncology department will provide you with the highest standards of care.
A team approach is utilized from the consult, simulation, treatment planning, treatment delivery, quality assurance, and follow-up care that you will receive. Members of the team include: Radiation Oncologists, Nurses, Radiation Therapists, PET Techs, CT Techs, Dosimetrists, and Physicists may all participate in your care. Often your Medical Oncologist, Surgeon, Urologist, Dentist, Dietitian, Social Worker, and others will collaborate in your overall treatment approach.
Methods of delivering radiotherapy include the following:
External-beam radiotherapy (EBRT) uses a sophisticated machine called a linear accelerator (often shortened to “linac”) to produce a beam of high-energy x-rays or electrons. Multiple beams entering a patient from different directions allow delivery of the necessary amount of radiation to a tumor while limiting the dose received by sensitive organs and other normal tissue. MCA maintains many advanced EBRT capabilities, including image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT), and four-dimensional computed tomography (4DCT) treatment simulation.
High dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy involves the temporary placement of a small but potent quantity of radioactive material in close proximity to a disease site. A tiny radioactive “seed” is fed into an applicator by means of a long, thin wire. The seed is held for a planned length of time at each of several positions within the applicator, producing a planned distribution of radiation dose in the surrounding tissues. The physicians and physicists at MCA have extensive experience in HDR brachytherapy.
Radiopharmaceutical therapy entails the injection of a medication that contains radioactive atoms. For example, a radioactive form of iodine (I-131) may be used for the treatment of thyroid cancer. After entering the bloodstream, iodine is preferentially taken up by the thyroid, where it remains temporarily concentrated and releases its radiation into the surrounding tissue.
Another example of a radiopharmaceutical is Xofigo (radium-223 dichloride). Xofigo is indicated for the treatment of patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer, symptomatic bone metastases, and no known visceral metastatic disease. This treatment option may be used when your cancer is resistant to medical or surgical treatment, and/or if the cancer has spread to your bones but not to other parts of the body.