Radiation Oncology

Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center’s radiation oncology is another specialty within cancer treatment used to treat a cancer diagnosis. Radiation oncologists use different types of radiation, including x-rays, gamma rays or electrons, to treat cancers. Radiation treatment may also be used in conjunction with surgery and/or chemotherapy.

What is Radiation Therapy?

Radiation therapy is an x-ray treatment that damages or destroys cancer cells in your body. Our radiation oncologists will oversee your radiation therapy treatments, work with the other members of the radiation therapy team to develop your treatment plan and ensure that each treatment is accurately given. Your radiation oncologist will also monitor your progress and adjust the treatment to make sure the radiation is hitting its target while minimizing side effects. Before, during and after your radiation therapy treatments, your radiation oncologist will work closely with your other cancer doctors, such as your medical oncologist and/or surgeon, to maximize the radiation’s effectiveness.

Learn more about our state of the art radiation therapy treatment systems available.

Types of Radiation Treatments & Technology We Use

Adaptive radiotherapy (ART) takes into account the anatomical changes that might occur during the course of radiation therapy. Such deviation can cause a difference between the planned and delivered dose. Other sources of discrepancy can be attributed to patient setup deviations or machine delivery deviations. The adaptive radiation therapy research team at MBPCC is working on projects on implementation of ART techniques with the use of the MRI linear accelerator that is installed, as well as several methods of adaptation (real time, and off line) for all linear accelerators. ART allows for a higher dose to the tumor which will translate to better patient outcomes.

The Cancer Center is now offering an innovative technique for delivering even safer treatments to many breast cancer patients. It incorporates a breath hold technique based on research aimed at improving radiation therapy treatment for women with left-sided breast cancer, as well as for patients with a variety of other cancers.

Gamma Knife Icon is a noninvasive and innovative radiosurgery technology for the treatment of primary brain tumors, brain metastases and other central nervous system conditions. This technology is being used to treat patients at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Baton Rouge. Learn more about Gamma Knife treatment.

Procedure that uses a computer to generate a picture of a tumor to help guide the radiation beam during radiation therapy. The images are created using CT, ultrasound, x-ray or other imaging techniques. IGRT makes radiation therapy more accurate and can reduce damage to healthy tissues.

A type of 3-dimensional radiation therapy that uses computer-generated images to show the size and shape of the tumor. Thin beams of radiation of different intensities are aimed at the tumor from many angles. This type of radiation therapy reduces the damage to healthy tissue near the tumor.

The sophisticated Elekta Infinity radiation therapy system offers patients access to one of the most advanced treatment technologies available. Not only does the Infinity offer superior image guidance capabilities, but its Volumetric Intensity Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) technology shortens treatment time without compromising quality of care. Shorter treatment times translate into increased patient comfort and improved accuracy by reducing time spent during treatment. Learn more about Elekta Infinity treatment technology.

VMAT is one of the most advanced methods of delivering IMRT treatment with the machine rotating in real time while delivering high-dose, focused radiation treatment, allowing for shorter treatment times.

Radiation delivery technique where the source of radiation is outside of the patient’s body.

  • Photon Therapy – Particles used to treat deep-seated tumors (for example – prostate cancer)
  • Electron Therapy – Particles used to treat superficial or shallow tumors (for example – skin cancer)

Radiation delivery technique where radioactive sources are located within the patient’s body. These source implants can be temporary or permanent depending on the type of tumor being treated.

  • High Dose Rate (HDR): Breast (MammoSite), Gynecological
  • Low Dose Rate (LDR): Prostate seed implants
  • Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) – A type of ablative, external radiation therapy that delivers extremely precise doses of radiation to cancer cells while minimizing damage to healthy tissue. It involves the use of sophisticated image guidance that pinpoints the exact three-dimensional location of a tumor so that the radiation can be more precisely delivered to cancer cells. SBRT is typically used to treat small, early-stage lung cancer and pancreatic cancer, or cancers that have spread to the lung, liver, adrenal gland, or spine.
  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) – A type of external radiation therapy that uses special equipment to position the patient and precisely give a single large dose of radiation to a tumor. It is used to treat brain tumors and other brain disorders that cannot be treated by regular surgery. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer.
  • Stereotactic Radiotherapy (SRT) – A type of external radiation therapy that uses special equipment to position the patient and precisely deliver radiation to a tumor. The total dose of radiation is divided into several smaller doses given over several days. Stereotactic radiation therapy is used to treat brain tumors and other brain disorders. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer, such as lung cancer.
  • Total Skin Electron Irradiation – A type of radiation therapy using electrons that is directed at the entire surface of the body. This type of radiation goes into the outer layers of the skin, but does not go deeper into tissues and organs below the skin. Also called TSEB radiation therapy.

Radiation Centers at Mary Bird Perkins

At Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, we understand the diagnosis and treatment of cancer can be overwhelming, and our radiation care team is dedicated to your care and comfort.

Our state-of-the-art radiation centers and partners are equipped with superior technology, allowing patients to receive the most effective radiation oncology treatments at several convenient locations.

If you are a physician, patient or caretaker and would like to learn more, please call (225) 767-0847.

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