Radiation therapy is the treatment of cancer with ionizing radiation or x-rays that are stronger to destroy or damage malignant cells. This is a common course of treatment for cancer patients and can effectively treat many types of cancer. In some cases it may be used in combination with surgery and chemotherapy.
Radiation therapy may be used to treat and localize solid tumors, such as cancer of the skin, tongue, larynx, brain, breast, uterus or cervix. External beam radiotherapy uses linear accelerators and betatron machines to focus a stream of high-energy radiation to the affected body part or target tissue. It is used to shrink the tumor, prevent the cancer from coming back and destroy the cancer. Your doctor will design a treatment just for you. Treatments are usually from several days to weeks.
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Types of radiation therapy
High-dose radiation (HDR)
Community Regional Cancer Care is a leading provider of HDR in the Indianapolis area for treatment of prostate cancer. This treatment uses higher amounts of radiation than in typical radiation therapy. The radiation is directed precisely at the tumor to avoid damaging healthy tissue, with the advantage that it may kill more cancer cells in fewer treatments.
External (beam) radiation therapy
Community Regional Cancer Care offers outpatient external radiation therapy. External radiation can come from x-ray, electron beam or gamma rays aimed at the cancer from outside the body. High-energy radiation is used to treat many types of cancer. Low-energy x-rays are used to treat some kinds of skin disease. A treatment plan usually lasts from five days to seven weeks. The dose of radiation will depend on the size and location of the cancer, the tumor type and your health and treatment plan. Learn more about external radiation therapy >>
Brachytherapy / Internal radiation therapy
During this treatment, radioactive material sealed in needles, seeds, wires or catheters is placed into or close to the tumor inside the body. This allows application of a higher dose of radiation for a shorter period of time to a small area. Learn more about brachytherapy >>
Community is pleased to offer a revolutionary approach to breast cancer called MammoSite 5-day radiation therapy. This treatment is used to deliver radiation therapy after a woman undergoes a lumpectomy (surgical removal of the cancerous tumor). Unlike traditional treatments where radiation is delivered from the outside to the entire breast, this treatment uses a small balloon to deliver radiation from within the lumpectomy cavity. The benefits of this new treatment include:
- Five days of treatment instead of five to seven weeks
- Less radiation exposure of normal tissues, including lungs, heart and ribs
- Less travel required
- More convenient for working women
- Easier for the elderly or infirm
- May increase the number of patients who choose breast conservation therapy
- Treatment is given before chemotherapy; no delay