A patient's individualized cancer treatment plan may include radiation therapy. In this treatment, high-energy x-rays, electrons, or other sources of radiation are used to destroy cancer cells.
Our state-of-the-art equipment includes a CT "Simulator" which creates a three-dimensional image of the exact location of the cancer being treated. Pinnacle treatment planning software gives the physician an accurate description of how and where the radiation is to be delivered. Two high-energy linear accelerators, including a Varian TrueBeam STx, administer radiation therapy externally.
St. Mary's offers two specialized forms of external beam radiation therapy:
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) optimizes the dose and beam arrangement to precisely treat a tumor of complex shape or location with minimal radiation to surrounding tissue.
- Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) and Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SABR) use three-dimensional images and precise patient positioning to direct a large dose of radiation to a small area.
Some cancers can be treated internally. Brachytherapy is the process of placing seeds or pellets in or near the tumor to release localized radiation. Brachytherapy performed at St. Mary's Regional Cancer Center includes both high dose rate (HDR) and low dose rate (LDR) procedures.
Supporting our radiation oncologists, radiation therapy nurses answer patients' questions about their treatment sessions, side effects, nutrition, and daily activities. They work closely with radiation therapists who administer the radiation treatments. St. Mary's dosimetrists and physicists develop individualized, precise treatment plans.