What is radiation therapy?
Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells by damaging their DNA. Radiation therapy can also damage healthy cells, which means that your treatment must be carefully planned and delivered to minimize any potential harm to healthy tissue.
Radiation is administered either by a machine outside the body or by radioactive material placed directly into your cancerous area (brachytherapy). We offer both external and internal radiation therapy methods:
- External-beam radiation therapy (EBRT) via a linear accelerator
- High-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy
External-beam radiation therapy
Our expert team delivers external-beam radiation therapy (EBRT) using our state-of-the-art linear accelerators. These machines deliver a high dose of radiation to your tumor while keeping the dose low to protect your healthy organs. EBRT is the most widely used radiation therapy and is appropriate for most types of cancer that can be treated without surgery.
High-dose rate brachytherapy
One of our most advanced therapies is high-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy, a method of internal therapy. We offer HDR, have rooms that are designed especially for delivering it and house equipped surgical suites. This advanced design provides a more comfortable, convenient experience for you, rather than an operating room, yet still ensures your safety.
HDR uses tiny radioactive capsules or catheters that we implant directly into your cancerous area. This option is possible for certain types of cancer, including:
What happens during radiation therapy?
We offer EBRT and HDR procedures as outpatient services. That means you can go home after your treatment, with minimal discomfort and disruption to your daily routines.
During EBRT, you can expect:
- Daily sessions within a 5- to 8-week course of treatment
- Painless, noninvasive treatments, similar to having an X-ray taken
- Side effects: Nausea, fatigue, discomfort in the area being treated
During HDR, you can expect:
- Quick treatment sessions lasting a few minutes over a few days
- Temporary radiation that does not remain in the body
- Side effects: Skin irritation and discomfort where the capsules were implanted
What can I expect after radiation therapy?
Follow-up care is important after radiation treatment to check for recurrence (return) of the cancer to the original site or metastasis (spread) of cancer to other parts of your body. Your medical team helps you manage your health going forward, so tell them if you have any side or late effects from radiation treatment.