New technologies offer continual improvement in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other diseases. At the Christian Hospital Cancer Care Center, we help our patients with cancer benefit from these innovations and breakthroughs. We are committed to investing in new technologies and procedures as they are proven to be medically effective. While there are many variations, there are four basic radiation therapy methods:
We offer the most sophisticated version of each.
Conventional Radiation Therapy
This is still the best choice for many tumors that can be easily localized and are not adjacent to critical tissues. The Christian Hospital Cancer Care Center has state-of-the-art equipment for conventional radiation therapy.
Three-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy
Technological advances led to this method of delivering radiation to treat cancer.
- A digital simulator seamlessly integrates with treatment machines and planning computers to implement accurate and complex treatments
- Computerized planning software enables physicians to "see" the tumor and normal tissues as three-dimensional images from CT and/or MRI scans, and to refine their aim by choosing and shaping beams to avoid healthy tissue
- A linear accelerator with finger-like lead blocks in the treatment head (multi-leaf collimators) shapes radiation beams to conform to the tumor according to the computer-generated plan; It is the first-choice treatment for many cancers
Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy is a breakthrough particularly for patients with tumors that are close to critical tissues. IMRT is made possible by recent advances in technology and software.
IMRT offers the tightest dose distribution by relying on computer-generated algorithms. It is the treatment of choice for many prostate and lung cancers, unusual cancers of the head and neck, and some breast and gastrointestinal tumors. IMRT is a result of tremendous advances in linear acceleration technology and a revolutionary treatment planning system.
The technology element is the multi-leaf collimator positioned at the head of the treatment machine, which can shape the radiation beam into patterns that are complex and highly individualized. Each of the collimator's multiple apertures can be opened or closed individually to enable each radiation beam to be focused with exquisite precision.
IMRT is a result of sophisticated software engineering. Working with a virtual model of the body, the software defines the ideal orientation and intensity of individual dose "packets." These packets summed together form a highly precise tumor coverage.
Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)
Image-Guided Radiation Therapy is the process of frequent two-dimensional and three-dimensional imaging during a course of radiation treatment, used to direct radiation therapy utilizing the imaging coordinates of the actual radiation treatment plan. The patient is localized in the treatment room in the same position as planned from the reference imaging (initial) dataset.
To speak to a breast cancer treatment specialist or to schedule an appointment, call the Christian Hospital Breast Health Center at 877.747.9355 or email us.