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Radiation therapy targets cancer cells with carefully regulated doses of high energy beams. Cancer cells grow and divide faster than healthy cells; radiation therapy works by splitting the DNA and chromosomes of the cancer cells to stop them from growing, dividing, and creating new cells. Radiation therapy is aimed at directly at the part of the body needing treatment to minimize the effect of healthy cells. At Maryland Oncology Hematology, we treat a variety of cancers in different areas of the body with a wide range of radiation therapies.
Internal Radiation Therapy
Internal radiation therapy, also known as Brachytherapy, places radiation inside the body either in or near the tumor.
- High-Dose-Rate Brachytherapy (HDR Brachytherapy): A high dose of radiation is given to a specific area of the body through an applicator, avoiding the healthy tissue. This treatment causes little pain, few complications, and has a fast recovery time. HDR brachytherapy is given for several minutes at a time in an outpatient setting.
- Low-Dose-Rate Brachytherapy (LDR Brachytherapy): A constant, lower dose of radiation is given through an implant over the course of several hours or days. This usually requires a hospital stay during therapy. Implants may be placed with surgery.
External Radiation Therapy
External radiation therapy directs high-energy rays into the tumor from outside of the body.
- Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT): This therapy uses special equipment to position the patient and deliver high doses of carefully focused radiation to tumors in the body. The total dose is usually given of a few days and helps avoid healthy tissue.
- Vision RT: This technology uses a 3D camera to position the patient during treatment, increasing the accuracy of radiation delivery and improving patient comfort.
- Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT): Computer-generated images are used to deliver high doses of radiation to the tumor while avoid surrounding tissue. This therapy uses beams at multiple angles to shape the radiation dose to the tumor. The higher dose delivered directly to the tumor increases the success rate of the treatment, while the lower dose to surrounding tissue results in fewer side effects.
- Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT): Prior to each radiation treatment, imaging is used take a computer-generated photo of the tumor to guide the radiation beam during treatment. This helps improve accuracy while avoiding healthy tissue.