Radiation Treatment plans include total dose, method of delivery, directions from which the radiation will be aimed and the total number of treatments.
Radiation is given in doses called centiGray (cGy). The actual number of treatments a patient will receive depends on the total dose of radiation the doctor prescribes, the size and location of the cancer, the type of tumor, and the patient’s general health. To protect healthy body tissue, radiation is given a little at a time, rather than all at once. Treatments are usually given five days a week, for a period of several weeks. Weekend breaks give normal cells a chance to recover.
External Beam Treatment
- How much radiation a patient will need
- How it will be delivered
- The directions from which the radiation will be aimed
- How many treatments a patient should have
Central Baptist Hospital is the first facility in Kentucky with the CyberKnife System. Our CyberKnife Treatment Center offers state-of-the-art technology is used to treat both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors anywhere in the body. It does so by delivering high doses of radiation to tumors with extreme accuracy, minimizing harm to surrounding healthy tissue and organs. CyberKnife System, designed by Accuray, combines two advanced technologies to deliver a revolutionary, frameless radiosurgery.
Image guidance system - This revolutionary advancement allows the CyberKnife to track patient movement, giving it the ability to achieve extreme accuracy. This allows radiation to be delivered without using rigid immobilization, such as a head frame. CyberKnife accuracy is called “Tight to the Tumor” accuracy, which means the radiation beams can conform to even small, complex-shaped tumors. No other radiosurgery system in the world offers this accuracy.
Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)
IGRT is a term used to describe the method of imaging to localize the area of the body being treated. For certain areas of the body where patient positions are harder to recreate daily, where the treatment site is very close to healthy organs, or when the tumor area is subject to significant motion from day to day, IGRT is used to help position the patient. With IGRT a special type of imaging is done daily in order to ensure that the treatment is being delivered as accurately as possible. Some tumor sites where IGRT is used include prostate, head and neck, and pelvis.
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
The main goal of any Radiation Therapy treatment is to maximize the dose to the tumor and minimize the dose to surrounding healthy tissue and organs. The surrounding structures will limit the dose that can be delivered due to their tolerance and sensitivity to radiation.
With an IMRT treatment the beam is modulated (more focused) to closely resemble the shape of the tumor. Several beams are directed at the area of interest. The beams are generated by a computer treatment planning program that delivers a precise dose of radiation.
The IMRT fields do not include as much of the healthy tissue, which often allows a higher dose of radiation to be delivered. Certain types of cancer are good candidates for this type of treatment, and some of the tumor sites treated at Central Baptist are prostate, left breast, and head and neck.
The linear accelerator is the machine that actually delivers the radiation treatment. It produces ionizing radiation that destroys cancer cells.
Before each treatment, you may be asked to change into a hospital gown. Then you will be taken to the treatment room where the radiation therapist will carefully position you on the table, using the marks on your skin to locate your treatment area. During your treatments, you must lie very still to make sure the radiation treats the right area each time.
The therapists will leave the room before turning on the linear accelerator. They will be able to see and hear you on a television monitor outside the treatment room. The treatments themselves last just minutes. You won't be able to see or feel the radiation while you are receiving it.
While A Patient is Under Treatment
During the course of your therapy, your radiation oncologist will monitor you carefully to see how well you are tolerating radiation treatment. Some patients need additional X-rays, CT scans or blood work so the doctor can see the tumor's response to therapy.
Many patients who receive radiation therapy experience no side effects from their treatments, others do. Your doctor, nurse and radiation therapist are available and can tell you how to deal with any side effects you may experience during and after your course of treatment.