The Cancer Center features the latest equipment available to treat cancer, including a three-dimensional conformal therapy treatment planning system and a dedicated computerized tomography scanner (CT). This equipment allows the Cancer Team to precisely administer doses of radiation, while at the same time protecting surrounding normal healthy tissues. The Cancer Center team includes two board-certified radiation oncologists. Both received their training at the University of Kansas.
What is Radiation Therapy?
The treatment of cancer and some non-cancerous conditions with radiation is know as Radiation Oncology/Therapy. Radiation can be produced by machines called linear accelerators or by naturally occurring radioactive sources. Radiation treatment from linear accelerators is called external radiation therapy. Radiation treatment using radioactive sources is called brachytherapy, or implant therapy and uses radioactive seeds placed within the cancer itself and is either temporary or permanent. The Cancer Center is one of four cancer centers in Missouri doing real-time prostate seed implant therapy. During external beam treatment the radiation beam is focused toward the tumor killing the cancerous cells. The treatment may also affect nearby healthy cells. The reason for external beam treatment is to catch more cells during cycles sensitive to radiation. Patients do not have treatments on the weekend, which allows time for cells to repair themselves and for the patient to rest. We also provide IMRT services.
Radiation therapy is not without side effects—an expected result of treatment to specific sites. However, improved treatment planning technology allows us to more effectively target the cancer and thereby decrease side effects to normal tissue. Prior to your start of therapy the radiation oncologist will review specific side effects that you might have as a result of treatment. Most side effects are treated with standard over-the-counter, non-prescription medications and most side effects are resolved in 2-4 weeks, following completion of treatment.