Radiation Oncology Treatment Options

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Delivering the Most Advanced Treatment

By combining the most advanced external beam and internal radiation technology with the nation's most experienced doctors, Fox Chase Cancer Center is one of the region's top hospitals for radiation therapy.

Fox Chase radiation oncologists were among the nation's first to use IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy), 3D-CRT, Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Radiotherapy, CT-on-Rails, BAT® ultrasound, Brachytherapy and MammoSite® to successfully treat patients with a variety of cancers.

Patient Benefits

The use of these technologies during treatment and treatment planning have proven results:

  • Accurate treatment spares nearby healthy tissue and organs
  • Precisely targets and delivers higher doses of radiation
  • Better outcomes in some cases
  • Greatly reduces side-effects
  • May improve the effectiveness of cancer treatments
  • As effective as surgery in some cases

External Beam Radiation Therapy

  • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy, or IMRT, allows physicians to precisely target and deliver higher doses of radiation tailored for each patient by combining MRI and CT scans and ultrasound. Patients generally experience fewer side effects. Using IMRT, doctors can shape, or conform, several small radiation beams to the tumor while reducing radiation to healthy tissue. IMRT is used to treat patients with prostate, breast, lung, gastrointestinal cancers, cervical, endometrial and head and neck cancers.

    Fox Chase Cancer Center was the first in the region to use IMRT and our physicians have one of the largest and longest experiences with IMRT in the United States.

  • 3-Dimension Conformal Radiation Therapy, or 3D-CRT, is similar to IMRT but may offer a better outcome for some types or locations of cancer. Radiation oncologists develop individually tailored treatment plans using 3-dimensional imaging to precisely shape the radiation beams to the tumor. Depending on the circumstance of the cancer, 3D-CRT is often preferred over IMRT because there are fewer radiation beams, allowing doctors to completely avoid healthy tissue when appropriate. 3D-CRT is used to treat certain patients with lung, gynecologic, gastrointestinal, bladder, and brain cancers.

    Fox Chase developed 3D CRT and pioneered its use in prostate cancer.

  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) and Stereotactic Radiotherapy (SRT) offer physicians the opportunity to deliver large doses of radiation to very small areas by aiming an X-ray or gamma-ray at a target or tumor. Radiation can be precisely delivered to its target while preserving more healthy tissue than with conventional external beam therapy. Additional precision is achieved through use of rigid immobilization (holding the patient perfectly still). SRS is generally used to treat primary or metastatic brain tumors and other intracranial cancers, while SRT is recommended for treating tumors in the central nervous system, lung and head and neck.

    Fox Chase was one of the first in the region to do extracranial SRS.

  • Image-Guided Radiation Therapy, or IGRT uses imaging devices, such as X-rays, ultrasound and CT scans, to guide the daily radiation treatment. On-board imaging improves the precision and effectiveness of treatments by allowing physicians to target and track tumors more accurately. The On-Board Imager provides IGRT by obtaining high-resolution X-ray images to pinpoint tumor sites, adjust patient positioning if necessary and complete a treatment, all within the time it would take to deliver standard treatment. IGRT is often used in conjunction with CT-on-Rails and BAT ultrasound for prostate cancer patients. IGRT is also used to treat patients with certain lung and gynecologic cancers.

    Fox Chase was the first in the world to use BAT and piloted its use helping it become a routine part of treatment.

    • Dynamic Multi-Leaf Collimator (DMLC) - Part of the linear accelerator, this device uses metal "leaves" to modulate the intensity of radiation beams. By visualizing the shape and location of the tumor, radiation oncologists can determine the required beam angles for treatment. Beam intensity is regulated by calculating the size of the space between the leaves and how long they remain open. This delivers a lethal dose to the tumor, while protecting nearby critical organs.

Internal Radiation Therapy

  • Brachytherapy - Fox Chase radiation oncologists use 2 types of brachytherapy to treat patients with prostate cancer: low-dose rate permanent seed implants and high-dose rate temporary implants. Using real-time intraoperative planning, doctors map out and plan both permanent and temporary implants in the operating room so that they can target the radiation precisely in real time. This technique has created better results and reduced side effects. Brachytherapy is also used for patients with breast, gynecologic, lung and gastrointestinal cancers.

    Fox Chase was the first to perform HDR prostate implants in the Eastern United States and is the first in the region to use real-time intra-operative planning with brachytherapy.

  • MammoSite - MammoSite is a form of brachytherapy used to treat patients with breast cancer. Using MammoSite, the radiation oncologist precisely delivers radiation directly to the breast tumor, rather than irradiating the whole breast. Brachytherapy with the MammoSite takes 5 days instead of up to 7 weeks that external radiation can require. Similar to brachytherapy, seeds are placed near the tumor in a temporary balloon. After the last treatment, the balloon is deflated and easily removed from the breast.

At Fox Chase Cancer Center, a multi-specialty team of physicians work together to develop a tailored treatment plan based on each patient's cancer stage, lifestyle and medical condition. Fox Chase has an in-house team of cardiologists, pulmonologists and internists who will work with your oncologist to manage any pre-existing or new medical conditions that may arise during the course of treatment.

For more information about radiation oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center or to make an appointment, call 1-888-FOX CHASE (1-888-369-2427).