Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells by damaging their DNA. The radiation used for cancer treatment may come from a machine outside the body, or it may come from radioactive material placed in the body near tumor cells or injected into the bloodstream. It can damage normal cells as well as cancer cells. Therefore, treatment must be carefully planned to minimize side effects.
The Arch Cancer Care facility is accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) which is a widely recognized validation of the high quality of care our organization provides to cancer patients. This means that our facility’s personnel, equipment, treatment-planning and treatment records as well as patient-safety policies are reviewed and recognized for excellence.
Your radiation oncologist will develop a treatment plan, which begins with simulation, using detailed imaging scans to show the location of a patient’s tumor and the normal areas around it. These scans are usually computed tomography (CT) scans, but they can also include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), and ultrasound scans.
The type of radiation therapy prescribed by a radiation oncologist depends on many factors, including:
- The type of cancer
- The size of the cancer
- The cancer’s location in the body
- How close the cancer is to normal tissues that are sensitive to radiation
- How far into the body the radiation needs to travel
- The patient’s general health and medical history
- Whether the patient will have other types of cancer treatment
- Other factors, such as the patient’s age and other medical conditions.
A patient may receive radiation therapy before, during, or after surgery. Some patients may receive radiation therapy alone, without surgery or other treatments. Some patients may receive radiation therapy and chemotherapy at the same time. The timing of radiation therapy depends on the type of cancer being treated and the goal of treatment.