More than half of all people with cancer will require radiation therapy at some time during the course of treatment. This may be used to destroy or shrink tumors, sometimes before or after cancer surgery, and to help alleviate symptoms.
At CHI Saint Joseph Health, we offer the latest, safest and most effective radiation therapies to treat a wide range of cancers. Many of our locations have earned full accreditation from the American College of Radiology (ACR) for providing the highest standards in patient safety and care.
Our board-certified radiation oncologists and technicians will work closely with your cancer care team and you to carefully plan and monitor each treatment to maximize success. We’ll also be right by your side through every phase of treatment to help you feel well and without major changes to your normal routine.
View our Radiation Therapy Frequently Asked Questions for more information. To schedule a consultation, contact a cancer center near you or find a cancer specialist anytime online.
What is Radiation Oncology?
Radiation Oncology is the branch of medicine that specializes in the treatment of tumors with X-rays and other forms of radiation.
Targeting Tumors with Extreme Precision
CHI Saint Joseph Health radiologists have some of the most sophisticated technology at their disposable, including:
- Elekta Versa HD and Agility linear accelerators: That provides superior conformance around the tumor—allowing us to deliver more powerful and more precise radiation, while protecting healthy surrounding structures and minimizing side effects. Patients also experience a more relaxing treatment setting courtesy of Versa HD’s streamlined shapes and ergonomic features, combined with low mechanical noise and ambient lighting effects.
- Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT): Allows us to locate and track tumors at the time of treatment to deliver more precise radiation.
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT): Allows radiation beams of various strengths and shape to be delivered from several angles. Exact locations of the tumor and healthy structures are used by a computer to determine the intensity of each individual radiation beam, sparing as much healthy tissue as possible.
- 3D Conformal Radiation Therapy (3DCRT): Uses computer simulation of the tumor and surrounding areas to shape the radiation beam exactly to the tumor.
- Active Breathing Coordinator (ABC) Therapy: When treating cancers of the left breast, the Active Breathing Coordinator often allows minimization of radiation dose to the heart. When the lungs are fully inflated, the heart generally moves further away from the radiation beam directed to the left breast. During treatment sessions, the patient inhales and holds her breath for approximately 20 seconds at a time. The beam is on while the lungs are full, and when the patient needs to exhale the ABC system automatically pauses the treatment. When the patient once again fully inflates her lungs, treatment is resumed.
- RapidArc: A newer form of IMRT that can deliver treatments in less than 10 minutes. Since a patient spends less time holding still, it’s easier to avoid movements that can affect the accuracy of the treatment.
- Stereotactic radiotherapy (SBRT): This technique uses carefully programmed coordinates to deliver narrowly focused, high-dose radiation beams to a solid tumor.
- Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS): SRS treatment involves delivering large radiation doses to small, precisely defined regions of the brain. Despite the name, no surgery is performed. The goal of this high dose radiation is to eradicate tumors without the need for traditional brain surgery. Treatment can be administered in very few radiation sessions. These relatively quick treatments are painless, and are delivered in the office setting. SRS treatment uses the custom devices discussed above in order to ensure pinpoint accuracy.
Support through Treatment and Beyond
Throughout your journey, we offer a full range of support services to help deal with treatment challenges. That includes one-on-one counseling with a registered dietitian to ensure good nutrition and manage any changes in appetite. You also have access to an oncology certified social worker for any emotional concerns, as well as a chaplain for spiritual care, ongoing support groups and much more.