Radiation therapy uses a machine called a linear accelerator to aim high-energy rays at your body, killing cancer cells. The radiation only affects cells in the area being treated.
Although radiation therapy is painless, it may cause side effects. The side effects depend mainly on how much radiation is given and the part of your body that is treated. Our team will discuss the possible side effects with you and work to minimize the symptoms.
Types of Radiation Therapy
If you are prescribed radiation therapy, the type you receive depends on your specific cancer diagnosis. Possible types include:
- Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) – In this therapy, images are taken of your body immediately before treatment and used to verify that the treatment will be delivered to the exact area prescribed by the physician.
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) – This is an exceptionally precise treatment which delivers high doses of radiation to the tumor while sparing surrounding normal tissue. Before each treatment is given, our radiation therapists take special images used to align the beam accurately as prescribed. The actual treatment can be delivered in just a few minutes.
- Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) – For this treatment, your radiation oncologist works closely with your surgeon to develop a treatment plan where treatment is delivered in one dose.
- Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) – This is an exceptionally precise treatment for liver cancer which delivers high doses of radiation to the tumor while sparing surrounding normal tissue. Brainlab Exac-Trac imaging in combination with the Trilogy™ Linear Accelerator allows us to focus radiation to areas with extreme accuracy.
- Radioactive Iodine Therapy – Used specifically for thyroid cancer, this therapy is taken as a pill a few weeks after surgery. Through the pill, a large dose of a radioactive form of iodine is used to destroy any thyroid tissue or remaining cancer cells. Since only thyroid tissue uses iodine, other tissues and organs are spared.