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Oncologists usually treat cancer with radiation therapy, surgery or medications including chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and/or biologic therapy, either alone or in combination.
If your cancer can be treated with radiation, you will be referred to a radiation oncologist – a cancer specialist who specializes in treating patients with radiation therapy. Your radiation oncologist will work with your primary doctor and other cancer specialists, such as surgeons and medical oncologists, to oversee your care. He or she will discuss the details of your cancer with you, the role of radiation therapy in your overall treatment plan and what to expect from your treatment.
Shermian A. Woodhouse, M.D., M.P.H.
Patrick Fernandes, M.D.
Carle Cancer Institute Normal is home to a Varian Truebeam linear accelerator. This state-of-the-art machine is used for Radiosurgery.
Radiosurgery is a non-invasive treatment technique used primarily to ablate tumors. Radiosurgery is most suitable for small, well-defined tumors that can be seen in imaging, such as a CT or an MRI scan. Despite the use of the word “surgery” in its name, radiosurgery does not involve removing the tumor with a surgical knife. Instead, a focused high-intensity beam of radiation is used to target a tumor while minimizing dosage to healthy tissue.
Put simply, radiosurgery is a highly precise, intensified form of radiotherapy, or radiation therapy. Physicians may utilize radiosurgery techniques when conventional radiotherapy is not an appropriate option for a patient’s particular case. It can be used as the first line of treatment for some tumors, or for tumors that are otherwise inaccessible for open surgery. Radiosurgery can be used in conjunction with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or as a palliative treatment when curing the cancer is not possible.
In addition to treating cancer, radiosurgery has also been shown to be beneficial for the treatment of some non-cancerous, neurovascular conditions. We recommend that you talk to your radiation oncologist about which treatment method is right for you.
Carle Cancer Institute Normal also utilizes a TomoTherapy Hi-Art treatment system.
Conventional radiation therapy machines deliver a wide beam of radiation from only a few angles. The Hi-Art treatment system uses its unique CT scanner design to deliver radiation continuously from all angles around the patient. More angles and more precise modulation result in dose distributions that conform to tumors like never before. This minimizes damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
The Hi-Art treatment system looks like a CT scanner because it is a CT scanner. It lets our staff efficiently acquire 3d CTrue images of every patient every day. With these images, our clinicians can check the size, shape, and location of tumors before each treatment. They can then compare that day’s image with the one used for planning to make the that radiation is directed where it should be. These images can be used to analyze and, when necessary, modify a patient’s treatment at any point during the treatment course.