An oncologist is a type of doctor who deals with diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer. One type of treatment an oncologist may use is radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is able to kill cancer cells through beams of strong energy.
Radiation oncology treatment in Florida
When you face a cancer diagnosis, it's important to know you have the best possible team on your side.
That means not only assembling together top specialists in their fields, but also using some of the most advanced technology to support you on your road to recovery. At HCA Florida Healthcare — a fully integrated network of care — our radiation oncologists use the latest technology and techniques to treat your cancer and help you heal.
What conditions are treated with radiation therapy?
Radiation therapy can be used to treat most types of cancer, including:
What is radiation therapy?
Radiation therapy is a common type of cancer treatment that is used to shrink or destroy a tumor. During radiation therapy, beams of energy — or radioactive particles — are aimed directly at the tumor, helping to keep the surrounding healthy tissue untouched.
The goal of radiation therapy is to spare as much healthy tissue as possible, while preventing cancer from spreading to the rest of the body. Some normal cells may be damaged by the radiation, but unlike cancer cells, most normal cells recover.
How is radiation therapy used in cancer treatment?
Radiation therapy can be used in a variety of ways to treat cancer, including:
- As the main source of cancer treatment, with the goal of curing the cancer completely
- As a complementary treatment to other treatments, such as chemotherapy or surgery
- As a way to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back after surgery
- As a way to shrink tumors to treat pain and other problems caused by the tumor
If you are living with cancer long term, radiation therapy can also be used as a form of palliative or supportive care. This can help improve your quality of life in a variety of ways, such as reducing the size of the tumor, and reducing pressure or other cancer symptoms.
What are the types of radiation therapy?
Our doctors know that cancer treatment is a collaborative process. Because of this, our radiation oncologists work closely together with the rest of your cancer care team to create a treatment plan that works for you and your family. Our goal is to make you feel comfortable, confident and optimistic about the road ahead. To ensure you receive the most effective possible treatment options for your unique situation, we offer many types of radiation therapy, including:
3D conformal radiation therapy
3D conformal radiation therapy is an advanced type of radiation therapy in which the beams of radiation are programmed to match the exact shape of the tumor. This type of treatment allows for the highest amount of healthy tissue to be spared.
Brachytherapy — a type of internal radiation therapy — delivers radiation treatment from the inside of the body, as opposed to externally.
The treatment involves the precise placement of a radiation source directly into the area of the body with the tumor. This allows for a high dose of radiation to be directed at a specific site within the body, while still sparing a large amount of normal tissue in the surrounding areas.
External beam radiation
During external beam radiation, a highly advanced machine — referred to as a linear accelerator — aims radiation at the cancer site. The linear accelerator does not touch you. Instead, it sends radiation to your body from many directions to attack the tumor from different angles.
Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
IGRT uses imaging technology at the radiation table to improve precision and accuracy of treatment. This not only allows for more precise direction of the radiation beams but also minimizes the amount of radiation that touches healthy tissues.
Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
IMRT is high-precision radiotherapy that uses computer-controlled linear accelerators to provide specific radiation doses to a cancerous tumor, or specific areas of the body.
IMRT uses radiation beams of different intensities. This allows the appropriate dose of radiation to reach the tumor while also reducing the dose to nearby healthy tissue.
Irreversible electroporation (IRE)
IRE uses electrical pulses to kill cancer cells and allows our doctors to locate and track the tumor at the time of treatment. With this technology, we can deliver precise radiation treatment in real time to tumors that may shift as a result of breathing and movement of the bladder and bowels.
Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT)
SBRT is another advanced form of radiation therapy that is used to precisely treat tumors with pinpoint accuracy. This allows for significantly higher doses of radiation to be delivered in fewer treatments. The benefit of this being less visits to the hospital, reduced side effects and less damage to healthy tissue.
Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS)
SRS is a form of radiation therapy that focuses a large dose of high powered energy on a small area of the body. This allows radiation oncologists to shrink or control the growth of a tumor quickly and effectively.
Robotic radiation delivery system
As part of our advanced technological offerings, we can also use a robot-guided delivery system for SBRT and SRS treatments. This system enables us to deliver these therapies with more precision than ever before. It involves the use of a robotic machine that is able to move around your body as it delivers intensely focused radiation to the exact spots you need it.
If you have more questions about radiation therapy, our specialists are happy to discuss it with you. You can also read more about it on the radiation therapy FAQs page for Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare.
Our radiation therapy teams
It's not the services a hospital offers that make it great — it's the people who work there. That is why HCA Florida has assembled cancer care and radiation therapy teams with years of experience in effectively treating cancer.
At our hospitals, you don't just have access to your providers. You have access to a collaborative healthcare network dedicated to your healing.
Your specialized cancer care team may include:
- Medical oncologists
- Oncology nurse navigators
- Radiation oncologists
- Surgical oncologists
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