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Lutheran Medical Center

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is used to treat most types of cancer as well as several noncancerous tumors. This therapy offers one of the most successful treatments options against cancer and expands options for patients with inoperable cancers. Radiation in many forms is used to kill cancer cells by preventing them from multiplying. It may also be used to ease some of the symptoms associated with cancer.

More than half of cancer patients receive radiation as part of their treatment course, and it is often used in combination with other treatments such as chemotherapy or cancer surgery. Our radiation oncologists and the radiation therapy team offer you comprehensive and leading edge treatments that are making radiation therapy safer and more effective than ever before.

What is radiation therapy?

Radiation therapy, also referred to as therapeutic radiology or radiation oncology, uses targeted energy, like X-rays, gamma rays and charged particles, alone or in combination, to destroy cancer cells and / or shrink tumors. It’s one of the best ways to stop many types of cancer. In fact, nearly two of every three cancer patients will make use of radiation therapy as part of their cancer care.

Our radiation oncologists are skilled in therapy for specific cancers, including:

Learn more about radiation therapy.

Types of radiation therapy

Your radiation therapy treatment plan will depend on your type of cancer, the location of your cancer, your medical history and the recommendations of your cancer care team based on their professional medical opinions.

Different types of radiation therapy can be used individually or together, depending what is right for your situation. We offer several types of specialized radiation therapy, such as:

  • External beam radiation therapy – Radiation, or invisible beams of energy, are delivered from a machine outside the body and directed to the part of the body where cancer is present. This energy kills the tumors and malignant cells. Popular forms of external beam radiation include three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT), intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy. Read more about external beam radiation therapy and about our advanced radiation technology.
  • Internal radiation therapy – This therapy is also called brachytherapy or seed implantation. Radiation is delivered directly from within the body through radioactive materials which are placed, temporarily or permanently, as close to the affected area as possible. This form of therapy delivers a high dose of radiation over a shorter time period directly to the cancerous area.
  • Systemic radiation therapy - Radioactive iodine therapy uses iodine to send out radiation, specifically to treat thyroid cancer. The thyroid gland absorbs nearly all the iodine in the blood. So, when a large dose of radioactive iodine is taken, the radiation can destroy the thyroid gland and thyroid cancer cells with little effect on the rest of the body.

Advanced radiation technology

The field of radiology continues to make gains in knowledge and technology. Newer methods are constantly being tested to find better treatments for cancer and other conditions treated with radiation. When you choose us, you can trust that we continue to add the latest technology to deliver your radiation treatment with pinpoint accuracy while protecting surrounding healthy tissue.

Throughout our system, our advanced offerings include:

  • High dose rate brachytherapy (HDR) - An internal therapy that delivers radiation from implants, like tiny radioactive seeds or tubes, placed close to, or inside, the tumor.
  • Image guidance radiation therapy (IGRT)— A type of radiation therapy designed to minimize the effects of movement, like breathing. One of the most popular technologies is TomoTherapy which is a type of radiation delivered slice-by-slice with help from a computer.
  • Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) using volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) – An advanced mode of high-precision radiotherapy using computer-controlled linear accelerators.
  • Stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR)— Administers very high doses of radiation using several beams at different angles to target the tumor.
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) – Uses radiation to treat tumors in the brain and other sensitive areas.
  • 4-D computed tomography to account for respiratory motion of tumors—Treatment designed to mimize the effects of motion, such as breathing, while administering radiation.
  • VisionRT® - Surface-guided radiation therapy.
  • 3-D conformal radiation (3D-CRT)—Radiation treatment administered in a way to match the shape of the tumor.

You will need to call your local hospital to learn which of these options are available in your area. You can also visit our online health library for information about other advances in therapeutic radiology.

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