At Banner MD Anderson, we tailor cancer treatment plans to our patient's individual needs. For many, the plan includes radiation oncology to kill cancer cells or, in some cases, to relieve symptoms and minimize pain brought about by the disease. Approximately half of all cancer patients require radiation therapy as part of their treatment.
What is Radiation Oncology?
Radiation oncology is an incredibly precise method of delivering regulated doses of high-energy radiation. It may be a patient’s only course of treatment. It may also be used with chemotherapy and/or as a complement to surgery.
Our highly coordinated radiation oncology team consists of board-certified physicians specially trained in radiation oncology, medical physicists, dosimetrists, radiation therapists and nurses. Together, they provide the highest level of cancer care using the latest medical equipment in conjunction with the world-renowned protocols of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
From 4-dimensional-CT capabilities that let physicians see and account for the movement of tumors inside the body, to highly sophisticated linear accelerators and patient positioning devices that ensure exact radiation delivery, we use the latest technologies to provide the safest, most accurate radiation oncology treatments.
Our robust radiation oncology imaging and treatment tools enable physicians at Banner MD Anderson to perform such specialized radiation oncology procedures as:
Three-dimensional (3D) treatment is a technology that allows radiation therapy beams to be shaped exactly to the size of a tumor. The tumor is able to be visualized in three dimensions so that the radiation beams paths and shapes can optimized treat cancer but minimize causing side effects to normal organs.
Many cancers of the body (e.g. lung cancer) move during treatment as a patient breathes. Four-dimensional treatment planning and delivery enables radiation treatment to adjust to movements during therapy. In addition, 4D treatment is used to protect critical areas of the body during radiation treatment (e.g. shield heart during breast cancer treatment).
Electron beam treatment is different than standard X-ray treatment as it only penetrates a few centimeters into the body and then stops. It is the preferred treatment for superficial tumors or skin cancers.
High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy involves the temporary placement of radioactive sources within the body to deliver high-doses of radiation to localized areas in a manner that helps protect and spare healthy tissue. At Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, HDR Brachytherapy is performed on an outpatient basis and may be used to treat gynecologic, breast, lung and skin cancers.
Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) is a specialized radiation delivery method that accounts for the movement of tumors in organs, such as the lungs, that move naturally inside the body. At Banner MD Anderson, IGRT uses ExacTrac® and Cone Beam CT to ensure the exact placement and delivery of radiation, regardless of movement.
Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) is a type of highly conformal radiotherapy that uses computer-generated planning to direct multiple radiation beams of differing intensities to the tumor being targeted for treatment. The precision of these beams makes it is possible to deliver higher doses of radiation than with conventional radiation therapy while minimizing the impact on healthy tissue.
Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy combines the advanced 3-dimensional or Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) treatment techniques and Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) to provide targeted high dose radiation delivery in just a few treatment sessions.
Stereotactic radiosurgery is precise, targeted, high dose treatment that is delivered in just one treatment. This technique is mainly used for brain and spine tumors and utilizes the most advanced image-guidance and treatment planning systems available.
Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) uses a form of highly conformal Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) computerized planning to treat patients with a rotational arc therapy that rotates around the patient while the treatment beam is on. The SmartArc® VMAT technology enables Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center patients to receive very complex treatments in just a few minutes, which enhances comfort and minimizes excessive tumor movement during treatment.