Cancer Radiation Therapy
Cancer. Radiation. The very words inspire fear. When Atlanta patients come to us for radiation treatment, they are scared, uncertain and anxious. They don’t know what to expect or how this diagnosis and treatment is going to affect their lives. At the DeKalb Medical Radiation Oncology Center, our board-certified physicians and expertly trained staff are dedicated to providing the most current and innovative radiation cancer treatment in a patient-centered, compassionate environment.
Radiation Cancer Treatment
DeKalb Medical’s state-of-the-art Radiation Oncology Center is designed to provide Atlanta oncology patients with the latest radiation therapy technology available to treat their disease. A dual energy Linear Accelerator is used to treat all types of malignancies, and special computer systems are utilized by the radiation oncologists and medical physicists to select the optimal treatment configuration and dosage to meet the goal of complete eradication of a malignant tumor. DeKalb Medical is now treating cancer patients with two revolutionary new radiotherapy techniques:
Many people remember relatives or friends who had bad experiences with cancer radiation therapy. The technology has changed dramatically over the years, and we are able to deliver precise radiation doses with much less toxicity. In the past radiation therapy in Atlanta was used primarily to treat symptoms but today is a powerful tool used to cure cancer and has become a front runner in the modalities used to treat cancer. Our ability to contour dosages to absolute boundaries is remarkable.
- IMRT(Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy), a highly precise technique that targets tumors while sparing surrounding healthy tissue
- The MammoSite Radiation Therapy System (RTS), a potential alternative to the traditional six-week radiation schedule many breast cancer patients who have undergone lumpectomy are prescribed
Our state-of-the-art Radiation Oncology Center, with our board certified physicians and expertly trained staff, is dedicated to providing the most current and innovative treatments in a dedicated, patient-centered facility. The Radiation Oncology Center offers a Varian 21 EX linear accelerator with multileaf collimation, a Varisource 200 High Dose Brachytherapy unit, a GE CT simulator and Phillips treatment planning system.
What kinds of cancer radiation therapy are available?
DeKalb Medical is now treating cancer patients with the following radiotherapy techniques:
- RapidArc® technology delivers image-guided IMRT very quickly, in a single rotation of the treatment machine around the patient. These treatments involve the use of precisely shaped beams that target the tumor and minimize exposure of surrounding healthy tissues.
- Three-Dimensional Computerized Radiation Therapy (3D CRT) – uses CT scans to find all parts of the tumor and to select the best angles for the radiation beams to reduce radiation dose to surrounding healthy tissues.
- Intracavity High-Dose Rate (HDR) and Low-Dose Rate (LDR) Brachytherapy – places radioactive sources near a tumor. With this technique, the tumor receives relatively high radiation doses while healthy tissue is spared. This can only be used on tumors that can be easily accessed or during surgery.
- Interstitial Brachytherapy – implants radioactive material (small tubes, seeds or capsules) into the tumor. This can only be done for tumors that can be easily reached or during surgery (such as prostate and breast cancers).
- Radiolabeled Monoclonal Antibody Therapy of Lymphoma – radioactive antibodies placed inside of tumors and used to kill cancer cells while keeping doses to healthy tissues low.
- Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a method of delivering high doses of radiation to lesions in the brain. The technique differs from conventional radiotherapy, which involves exposing larger areas of the brain to radiation over a number of sessions, typically 10 to 35. Instead, SRS delivers a highly focused beam of radiation so that only the desired target is radiated, sparing the surrounding brain tissue. This non-invasive “surgical” technique is used mostly to treat cancers in the brain, as well as a few benign growths.
- Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) applies the same treatment concept to small tumors in other parts of the body, specifically the spine, lung, liver, pancreas and prostate. When used to treat tumors outside of the brain, the procedure may be delivered over several days (up to five separate treatments).
SRS and SBRT are made possible by the recent development of three-dimensional computer-guided positioning systems, along with the improvement in devices used to stabilize the patient for this extremely accurate targeting system. The metal frames used to keep the patient’s skull in place are no longer necessary, since the introduction of more comfortable (and less invasive) devices.
SRS and SBRT are exciting new technologies which allow us to deliver higher doses of radiation accurately to small lesions, increasing the chance of curing the disease while also reducing the risk of side effects and completing treatment in a much shorter span of time.
Radiation Therapy Care Team
The Radiation Oncology staff is exceptional in that each employee, from the receptionist to the physicians, gives of himself or herself to the fullest. We treat our cancer radiation therapy patients as if they are our own family members. This personal attention provides reassurance to patients who are unsure of what to expect when they first walk through the door. We don’t just deliver cancer radiation therapy; we also deliver hope. For more information, call 404.501.6925.