Radiation Conditions, Treatments & Diagnostics
The Department of Radiation Oncology at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute offers radiation therapy. The type of therapy a patient receives depends on the type of cancer, its stage and where it is located.
Understanding Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy is a treatment for cancer that involves radioactive energy to destroy the cancer cells and their division.
Each patient gets a custom radiation plan that will carefully target their cancer while limiting the effect on healthy tissue. Radiation works by keeping cancer cells from growing and dividing, causing them to die.
Radiation to healthy cells can cause a variety of side effects and depend on where in the body you are being treated. Possible side effects that you might experience will be discussed with you, as well as ways to manage them.
Your care team during radiation treatment is here to support you. Your care team is your doctor, nurse, radiation therapists, dosimetrist and physicist.
Your treatment path will consist of a Consultation, CT Simulation scan, Planning, Treatment and Follow-Up.
Types of Radiation Therapy
External beam radiation therapy uses machines to direct a beam or beams through the skin and to the cancer site or surrounding areas. This type of radiation therapy destroys tumors or cancer cells while minimizing the risk of radiation exposure to healthy organs and tissue.
- Intensity modulated radiation therapy
- Respiratory gating and motion management
- Stereotactic radiosurgery
- Stereotactic radiotherapy
- Total body irradiation
Brachytherapy is a form of radiotherapy that places a radiation source (radioactive seeds) inside or next to the area needing treatment. It allows for the precise delivery of high-dose radiation to the targeted area while preventing healthy tissue from unnecessary exposure. Common sites for which brachytherapy treatment is considered are:
- Gynecological: cervical, uterine, vaginal, vulvar
- Prostate: definitive, salvage (re-irradiation)
- Breast: after lumpectomy, salvage (re-irradiation), during surgery (intraoperative radiation therapy)
- Skin: basal cell, squamous cell, keloids
- Gastrointestinal: esophageal (re-irradiation), cholangiocarcinoma, liver (hepatocellular carcinoma)/metastasis
Intensity modulated radiation therapy is a type of high-precision radiation therapy in which the strength and shape of the radiation beam is adapted to match the precise size and shape of a tumor in order to minimize the damage to surrounding tissue.
- Head and neck
Respiratory gating and motion management is a type of radiation technology that senses and accounts for motion during radiation therapy. This technology allows doctors to target the tumor during specific times and minimize radiation exposure to healthy tissue.
Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a highly precise form of radiation therapy initially developed to treat small brain tumors and functional abnormalities of the brain. This therapy can target very small areas.
- Brain abnormalities, such as arteriovenous malformations and meningiomas