Treatment and Technology
- Radiation Therapy is a painless procedure that is used safely and effectively to treat cancer and other diseases. Radiation treatments are delivered with a linear accelerator. This technology uses an invisible beam of energy to penetrate the tumor and destroy the cancer cells. The beam is guided and shaped by advanced computers to target the tumor directly, protecting the surrounding tissue.
- Before treatment begins, the patient participates in a simulation process that mimics the actual treatment. Careful measurements and calculations are made to determine precisely where the tumor is and the best way to provide treatment.
- CT conformal therapy, three-dimensional treatment planning, digital reconstructive radiographs and other high-tech methods are used to make the treatment program as effective as possible.
The Cancer Centers of Northern Arizona Healthcare provides an advanced option for the treatment of prostate cancer. This cutting-edge treatment is the only one of its kind in Northern Arizona and provides a technologically advanced, convenient alternative to the common choices of external radiation therapy or surgery.
Prostate brachytherapy, otherwise known as prostate seed implants, involves the placement of small, rice-sized radioactive seeds into the prostate gland. The seeds give off low-dose radiation to the tumor within the prostate gland over the course of approximately six months. This procedure allows for the delivery of a very high cumulative dose of radiation to the prostate gland, while allowing low-dose exposure to surrounding structures such as the rectum and bladder.
The procedure has minimal side effects and can be performed on an outpatient basis. The procedure usually lasts one hour and patients usually go home the same day.
The prostate brachytherapy team consists of highly trained professionals including urologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists, certified medical dosimetrists and specially trained nurses. Candidates for this new procedure must be in the earliest stages of prostate cancer and exhibit a low risk of disease outside the gland to be eligible for this treatment option.
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
- IMRT was introduced in 2003, allowing the our cancer center to offer the latest in radiation cancer treatment. This precise radiation technique is the most advanced new development in radiation oncology treatments. IMRT's sophisticated computer software is able to shape the radiation beam to the shape of the tumor and adjust exposure during the delivery of treatment.
- IMRT treatments utilize a Multi-leaf Collimator, computer-controlled motorized leaves that provide increased conformity and adjustments to targets. This increases the delivery of radiation while reducing the amount of radiation to nearby normal tissue.
- The ability to utilize IMRT treatments allows the physician to increase the dosage to the tumor volume while at the same time minimize side effects. Enhanced treatments result in less reoccurrence of tumors.
Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)
- IGRT is a new technology designed to improve the precision and effectiveness of cancer treatments by giving physicians the ability to target and track tumors more accurately.
- An automated system for IGRT enables clinicians to obtain high-resolution images to pinpoint tumor sites, adjust patient positioning when necessary, and complete a treatment, all within the standard treatment time slot.
- Portal vision allows the radiation therapist and physician to visualize the patient’s treatment setups in a fraction of the time it takes with traditional X-rays. The ability to digitally capture a patient’s setup and adjust as necessary before each treatment is a critical component toward ensuring accurate outcomes.