At some point during their treatment, approximately one-half of all cancer patients receive radiation therapy. Akron General offers radiation therapy to treat a wide variety of cancers. Radiation therapy is also be used with other types of therapies including chemotherapy, surgery and immunotherapy to improve patients’ survival rates and quality of life.
During 2008, approximately 15,500 treatments were performed in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Akron General and Robinson Radiation Oncology, a satellite facility joint venture with Robinson Memorial Hospital.
Since 1997, Akron General and Robinson Memorial Hospital have partnered together to offer radiation therapy services at the Robinson Radiation Oncology Center. This long-standing cancer care partnership allows residents of Portage County to receive the same state-of-the-art radiation oncology care that patients experience at the McDowell Cancer Institute.
Before starting radiation therapy, the treatments must be precisely planned. Virtually all patients at Akron General and Robinson Radiation Oncology undergo CT-based treatment planning. Akron General’s GE Light Speed CT simulator also provides 4D imaging to capture a patient’s movement during breathing, to maximize radiation dose to tumor volumes and minimize such dose to non-cancerous tissue.
Conebeam Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)
Akron General’s McDowell Cancer Institute is now offering patients Conebeam Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) technology. Conebeam IGRT technology enables CT images of the tumor site and surrounding tissues to be acquired immediately before treatment. These images may then be compared to the treatment planning CT images, and the patient’s position matched, so that the actual treatment more precisely conforms to the treatment plan. If the tumor is no longer exactly where it was or has changed in shape or size, the treatment may then be modified. For tumors that are likely to move during treatment (lung tumors, for example, may move as the patient breathes), the IGRT sequential imaging capabilities allow appropriate margins to be set to compensate for this movement.
Stereotactic Lung Radiotherapy
Akron General is the only hospital in the area to offer Stereotactic Lung Radiotherapy. Patients with small localized lung tumors may be treated in five or fewer sessions rather than the usual six to seven weeks of daily treatment. This is accomplished by utilizing 4D treatment planning, precise immobilization, abdominal compression to minimize tumor movement with respiration, and Conebeam IGRT. Furthermore, numerous reports on this technique indicate that it results in better tumor control than conventional radiotherapy.
Brachytherapy is short distance radiation therapy whereby radiation sources are placed inside a patient’s tumor or tumor area. It is used to treat a relatively small volume of tissue to a high radiation dose. This helps to shorten treatment duration and reduce radiation exposure to non-cancerous tissues surrounding the tumor.
Mammosite Partial Breast Irradiation
Akron General was the first hospital in the area to offer the MammoSite Radiation Therapy System (MammoSite RTS®), an innovative breast cancer treatment, that limits radiation dose to the tumor bed, rather than the entire breast. Because of the smaller treated volume, in selected patients, the entire course of radiation therapy may be given over one week rather than the more traditional six to seven weeks.
Akron General was the first hospital in the area to utilize prostate brachytherapy. Radioactive iodine seeds are precisely placed in the prostate. The radiation therapy is effectively delivered continuously over a number of months. The seeds’ radiation activity diminishes over time within the patient to become harmless. Patients who are candidates for prostate brachytherapy often choose this option for its one-time convenience. At Akron Geneal cutting edge prostate brachytherapy techniques are used to achieve optimal radiation dose coverage of the prostate while minimizing normal tissue dose.
Akron General offers High Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy to treat selected patients with uterus or cervical cancer. Series of HDR brachytherapy treatments are performed as outpatient procedures, thus avoiding the inconvenience and potential risk of hospitalization.
The Department of Radiation Oncology ensures that patients have access to the latest treatments and protocols available. Eligible patients may choose to participate in NCI-sponsored investigational protocols as part of the Akron General McDowell Cancer Center’s membership in the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast Project, the Gynecologic Oncology Group, and the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group.
Akron General Medical Center
400 Wabash Avenue
Akron, OH 44307
Robinson Radiation Oncology Center
6847 North Chestnut Street
Ravenna, OH 44333
Akron General Center for Urologic Health
320 W. Exchange Street
Akron, OH 44302
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For information about Akron General's McDowell Cancer Institute, our services and programs, call 330-344-HOPE (4763).