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Radiation Therapy

Technician and monitorAt 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 frequently used with other types of therapies including chemotherapy, surgery and immunotherapy to improve patients’ survival rates and quality of life.

Before starting radiation therapy, the treatments must be precisely planned. Virtually all patients at Akron General 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.

Technician and Patient in RoomAkron General’s Radiation Therapy Techniques Target Tumors with Greater Precision

Conebeam Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)
Akron General’s McDowell Cancer Institute offers 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 precisely 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.

Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT)
Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) is a radiation technique, which can achieve highly conformal dose distributions with improved target volume coverage and sparing of normal tissues compared with conventional radiotherapy techniques including stationary field 3-dimensional (3D) or intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). VMAT also offers additional advantages, such as reduced treatment delivery time.

Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT)
Akron General was the first hospital in the area to offer Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT), most commonly used to treat patients with lung cancer.

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.

SBRT is also used to treat selected patients with tumors of the spine, liver or lymph nodes.

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. The newer second generation MammoSite-ML device enables Akron General to treat patients with partial breast irradiation with fewer side effects and to treat some, who due to tumor location, were not previously candidates for partial breast irradiation.

Prostate Brachytherapy
Akron General is the only hospital in the area that offers 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 within the patient over time to negligible levels. Patients who are candidates for prostate brachytherapy often choose this option for its one-time convenience. At Akron General, cutting edge prostate brachytherapy techniques, including intraoperative planning for stranded seeds, are used to achieve optimal radiation dose coverage of the prostate while minimizing normal tissue dose.

Gynecologic Brachytherapy
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.

Other High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy Procedures
We also provide High Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy treatments to the:

  • Skin – Patient with skin tumors which encompass large areas may be treated with HDR brachytherapy using flexible mesh style surface molds. Similarly, patients with minimal, shallow skin tumors may be treated with small tungsten shielded applicators.
  • Endo-bronchial – Some patients with lung cancer have small lesions that have grown into and obstructed a bronchus, resulting in collapse of a lobe of the lung or recurrent infections. These may be treated with the help of a pulmonologist using HDR brachytherapy by means of a precisely place intra-bronchial catheter.
  • Bile Duct – Similarly intra-biliary catheters may be placed with the help of an interventional radiologist to enable treatment with HDR brachytherapy for selected bile duct cancers.
Other Radionuclide Therapy
Prostate cancer, metastatic to bone – One of the many treatment options for patients who have stopped responding to anti-androgen therapy is monthly intravenous treatments with Radium-223 (Xofigo). This has been s how to increase average lifespan in these patients. Akron General is the only area hospital to offer this treatment.

Gamma Knife
Akron General has a Gamma Knife Center located in west Akron. Learn more.

Yttrium-90 Radio-embolization of Liver Tumors
Akron General is the only area hospital that offers appropriate patients, Yttrium-90 radio-embolization of liver lesions, either arising from the liver or metastatic from other areas of the body. This procedure, if performed with the interventional radiologist, has proven to be effective in terms of extending time to progression of disease and also providing survival benefit.

Clinical Trials
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. Learn more.

Akron General Medical Center
1 Akron General Avenue
Akron, OH 44307

Click here for other Cancer Institute services

For information about Akron General's McDowell Cancer Institute, our services and programs, call 330-344-HOPE (4763).

 Date Updated: 17-AUG-2015

Akron General Medical Center • 1 Akron General Avenue (Formerly 400 Wabash Avenue) • Akron, OH 44307 • 330-344-6000 • 1-800-221-4601    © 2015 Akron General Health System
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