Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment using advanced technology such as high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation targeted to eradicate cancer cells or stunt their growth. The type of radiation offered varies depending on the type of cancer and the patient’s individual case, including:
External radiation (external beam therapy) — Radiation therapists treat patients on a LINAC (linear accelerator) to target tumors precisely while minimizing damage to nearby tissue and critical organs.
External radiation types include:
- Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) — A computer creates a picture (using ultrasound, X-ray or other imaging techniques) of the tumor to help guide the radiation beam during radiation therapy.
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) — This is a highly precise technique that modulates the dose based on the shape of the tumor to deliver sufficient dose to the tumor while sparing healthy tissue.
- Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) — SBRT utilizes special markers to create precise positioning in the body to allow for higher doses of radiation to be delivered with less risk of damaging healthy tissue.
- Arc radiation therapy — This technique delivers radiation by rotating around the patient in an arc instead of individual beams. This therapy allows radiation beams to be given in a shorter period of time and directed from all possible angles.3-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT) combines a 3D image of the tumor with multiple treatment fields to deliver a more precise dose of radiation.
Brachytherapy (internal radiation) — This is a radiation technique that places radioactive material inside the body very close to the tumor by using a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires or catheters.
Brachytherapy allows the patient to receive higher levels of radiation than they would get from traditional radiation. Additional benefits include fewer side effects and shorter treatment time compared with traditional radiation techniques.
- High-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy — This treatment for localized cancer implants radioactive pellets or seeds in the impacted area of the body which slowly release a high dose of radiation directly into the body with minimal damage to the surrounding healthy tissue.
- Calypso System — This is a revolutionary localization system that monitors and tracks each radiation treatment. The Calypso beacons track the motion and position of the tumor to assure the most accurate targeting of the radiation beam.
- MammoSite RTS –This is a way to deliver partial breast irradiation and utilizes a balloon catheter to deliver radiation directly to the tumor bed. This is a less invasive method of delivering breast brachytherapy than traditional high-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy.
- Total body irradiation — Radiation is delivered to the entire body. It is often done before chemotherapy and stem cell or bone marrow transplant to destroy any remaining cancer cells and create space for the new stem cells.
- Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) — In this method, an interventional radiologist uses computerized imagery to locate the tumor and inject it with electrical energy. The energy eliminates the tumor by heating it.
At the Department of Radiation Medicine, radiation therapy treatment is provided in caring and professional environment by staff that is dedicated to making each patient visit as informative and stress-free as possible. The full time staff is active in research to advance the field of radiation medicine and in educating the next generation of radiation oncologist and medical physicists. We were also the first cancer program on Long Island to offer the Calypso system for prostate cancer treatment.