What is Radiation Therapy?
When cancer is diagnosed it may be treated in a variety of ways, depending on the nature and complexity of the illness. These treatments may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, biotherapy and complementary therapies. They may also involve a combination of these approaches.
Radiation therapy is one of the most effective ways to combat certain types of cancer. The goal of radiation therapy is to deliver a high enough dose of radiation into the tumor to kill cancer cells while sparing the surrounding normal tissue from damage. There are several different techniques available to achieve this aim including external beam radiation therapy (focusing a beam of ionizing radiation) or brachytherapy (implanting radioactive sources in the area of tumor growth) among others. Depending on the location, size and type of your tumor or tumors, one or a combination of these techniques may be recommended.
In some cases, radiation therapy is employed as a supportive measure to reduce pain, pressure or bleeding. Numerous benign tumors or growths may also be treated with radiation therapy.
The members of the radiation oncology team will work with your physicians and other health care providers in a multidisciplinary approach to provide you with first-rate treatment.
Care Giving Team
A team of health care professionals and support staff tends to every aspect of your care.
The Radiation Oncologist is a physician who specializes in the treatment of cancer and other diseases. He or she has advanced training and many are certified in Radiation Oncology by the American Board of Radiology. With responsibility for your overall care, he or she will develop your treatment plan, prescribe the exact amount of radiation you will receive and meet with you regularly to evaluate your progress and answer questions.
The Radiation Oncology Nurse also specializes in oncology and will help coordinate your care with physicians and other staff. He or she is available to help with your day-to-day concerns, help you manage side effects and can refer you to other health care professionals, as needed. The Radiation Oncology Nurse may also be certified by the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation.
The Radiation Therapists are trained and certified in radiation therapy by the American Registry of Radiological Technologist (ARRT). Under the direction of the radiation oncologist, they will administer your daily-prescribed dose of radiation, assist with your simulation and help arrange your treatment schedule.
If needed, your physician may refer you to a registered dietitian, who will help you plan a well-balanced diet to help maintain your weight and provide adequate nutrition necessary for tissue recovery. You also may be referred to a counselor or social worker who can provide you or your family with counseling and support services.
Our radiation oncology team works closely with your other physicians and health care providers to coordinate your care and make your treatment with us as comfortable as possible. Our radiation oncologists participate in local hospital multidisciplinary tumor boards. Patient cases needing more complex treatment planning are presented at these conferences, and professionals from the different oncology specialties express their opinions regarding the best treatment regimen. This assists us in providing the highest-quality care.
Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)
Cone Beam CT
3-D Confirmational Radiation
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
Simulation & Treatment Planning
Using the information gathered from research leads to improvements in cancer treatment. Outcomes of therapy are affected not only by the intervention delivered to the patient, but also by a variety of factors related to personal and interpersonal characteristics of both the patient and health care provider and the environment in which the care is provided. The assessment of outcomes from available treatment and practice locations helps health care providers and patients decide which of a variety of treatment methods, practitioners and centers will be utilized for cancer care. Combining standardized information, electronic health records, networked treatment planning systems with established practice guidelines, active clinical leadership and systematic peer review of practice data, patient self-assessment and outcomes, Vantage Oncology demonstrates a strong commitment to always be on the leading edge of cancer care by continuously improving outcomes and patient care.
Prostate Cancer Outcome Study (PCOS)
Among the ongoing Outcomes research initiatives is the Prostate Cancer Outcome Study, a study assessing health related quality of life for men treated with different forms of radiation therapy for localized prostate cancer. Examination of systematically collected quality of life, disease, treatment and treatment side effect information from our prostate cancer patients receiving definitive radiation will allow comparison of toxicity profiles of different radiation treatment techniques both within our centers as well as across other institutions. This information will enable us to better inform our patients of the expected outcomes during the sometimes difficult decision-making process.
In addition to Outcomes research, many affiliated physicians have initiated their own studies and participate in clinical trials through several national cooperative groups. This assures our patients access to cutting edge treatment that may be investigational and that would not otherwise be available in the community.