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Radiation Oncology

Cancer is a complex, challenging illness that is unique to each individual. We are committed to providing personalized quality care and the latest technology close to home.

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to slow or stop a cancer tumor from growing. Modern technology lets doctors treat tumors precisely while sparing much of the healthy tissue around the tumor. Radiation therapy can cure cancer, keep it from spreading, slow cancer growth or ease symptoms.

Treatment Close to Home

We provide radiation oncology services at:

Your Treatment

Your doctor may treat your cancer with radiation only or order radiation along with chemotherapy and/or surgery. You can expect the following steps:

  • Step 1 – Consultation – A radiation oncologist and nurse will examine and talk with you. Your loved ones are welcome to stay with you.
  • Step 2 – Simulation – A CT simulator scans the area of cancer for designing a treatment plan.
  • Step 3 – Computerized treatment planning – Images from the scan are transferred to the treatment planning computer to determine your radiation dose.
  • Step 4 – Treatment verification – You will return for verification films to make sure your body’s position on the treatment machine is correct.
  • Step 5 – Radiation treatments – Most people get treatment daily, Monday through Friday, at the same time for two to nine weeks. Your care will depend on your personal treatment plan based on the best practice guidelines for your diagnosis. The radiation oncologist will check you weekly.
  • Step 6 – Last day of treatment – The nurse and/or radiation oncologist will meet with you to go over discharge instructions, answer any questions and schedule a follow-up visit.

What is Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy, sometimes called radiotherapy or irradiation, is the use of various forms of radiation to safely and effectively treat cancer and other diseases. Modern technology allows radiation oncologists to treat tumors more powerfully and precisely while sparing much of the healthy tissue around the tumor.

Radiation:

  • Is a special kind of energy carried by waves or particles.
  • Works by damaging the DNA within cancer cells and destroying the ability of the cancer cells to reproduce.
  • Can be delivered internally or externally.
  • Can come from special machines or from radioactive substances.

Depending on the type of cancer and its stage of development, radiation therapy can:

  • Cure cancer.
  • Keep the cancer from spreading.
  • Slow the cancer’s growth.
  • Kill cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body from the original tumor.
  • Relieve symptoms caused by the cancer.

Sometimes radiation therapy is the only treatment a patient needs, and other times it is only one part of a patient’s treatment. For example, prostate and early stage larynx cancers are often treated with radiation alone. But a woman with breast cancer may be treated with surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

It is important for you to discuss the goal of your treatment with your radiation oncologist.

Is Radiation Therapy Safe?

Some patients have concerns about the safety of radiation therapy. Radiation has been successfully used to treat patients for more than a century. In that time, many advances have been made to ensure the safety and effectiveness.

Before you begin treatment, your radiation oncology team will carefully tailor the treatment plan to assure you receive safe and accurate treatment. Throughout your treatment, members of your team check and recheck your plan. Sophisticated computers are also used to monitor and ensure proper treatment is given.

If you undergo external beam radiation therapy, you will not be “radioactive” following treatment, because the radiation does not stay in your body. However, if you undergo brachytherapy, tiny radioactive sources will be implanted inside your body, in or around the tumor, either temporarily or permanently. Your radiation oncology team will explain any special precautions that you or your family and friends may need to take.

  • A medical physicist works with the radiation oncologist to ensure accuracy of your treatment delivery by checking and calibrating the equipment and taking precise measurements of the radiation beam.
  • A medical dosimetrist works with the radiation oncologist and complex computer systems to custom design your treatment plan calculating the right dose of radiation aiming to effectively treat the tumor while sparing as much healthy tissue as possible.
  • A registered nurse who specializes in oncology care is available to help you and your family learn about the treatment and how to manage side effects.

Contact Us

General Information
320-229-4900

Nurse Advisor
320-229-4989

New Patient Referrals
320-229-4902, ext. 70698

Coborn Cancer Center Events & Support Groups

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