“I wanted to stay close to home. There was no need to go to M.D. Anderson because I got the same treatment protocol right here.”
– Chad

“I wanted to stay close to home. There was no need to go to M.D. Anderson because I got the same treatment protocol right here.”
– Chad

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy x-rays that target specific cancer sites. Our advanced technology allows us to precisely aim the radiation at the tumor while avoiding damage to the normal, healthy cells. Radiation may be used to destroy cancer cells, relieve symptoms associated with cancer, and/or prevent the cancer from returning.

Your treatment is custom-tailored and unique to your diagnosis, tumor size, location and involvement. Your radiation oncologist (a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with radiation) will review all available treatment options and recommend a personalized plan for you based on national guidelines, which guide all cancer treatments. Radiation therapy is used either alone or in combination with other treatments such as chemotherapy and surgery.

Radiation can be delivered either from outside the body with a machine called a linear accelerator (external beam radiation) or from a radiation source implanted permanently or temporarily in the body (brachytherapy).

Different types of radiation are used to treat specific types of cancer.

3-D CRT (3 Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy)
Uses 3-dimensional images of the tumor in the patient’s body to develop a radiation treatment plan designed specifically for that individual.

IMRT (Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy)
A form of 3D CRT, IMRT adjusts the intensity of the radiation beam to deliver a sculpted dose of radiation to the tumor while avoiding adjacent, healthy tissue.

IGRT (Image Guided Radiation Therapy)
Improves targeting by using high-resolution imaging to track tumor movement before each treatment.

PBI (Partial Breast Irradiation)
Allows treatment of select patients with early-stage breast cancer in just five days, resulting in excellent cosmetic results for most patients.

HDR (High Dose Brachytherapy)
Reduces treatment time and toxicity with radioactive sources directly implanted into or around the tumor.

SRS (Stereotactic Radiosurgery)
A revolutionary non-surgical radiation treatment that delivers a potent, highly focused dose of radiation to brain and spine tumors.

Electron Beam Therapy
Targets lesions on or near the skin’s surface, often serving as an alternative to surgery with excellent cosmetic outcomes.

Sign up for our patient portal, My Healing Plan, to learn more about the radiation therapy your doctor has prescribed for you.

What to expect
To create a customized treatment plan, you will have a CT or PET/CT scan to identify the exact location of your cancer.
Ink marks or small tattoo-like dots will be placed on your skin in the area of the tumor to ensure the radiation is delivered to the tumor. The markings will be visible on your skin, but only in the area of the tumor and are not permanent. They are designed to fade and will begin to disappear towards the end of your radiation treatments. Occasionally, the markings will have to be reapplied to your skin during treatment. It is very important that you do not scrub the markings during your bathing/showering. Your radiation therapist will discuss with you how to care for your skin during your treatments, including protecting the markings.
Radiation treatments happen Monday through Friday for a number of weeks, usually for 5-8 weeks. Weekend breaks, on Saturday and Sunday, allow your normal cells to recover and assist your healing process.
Our radiation therapists will bring you from the waiting room, into the treatment room with the linear accelerator (radiation machine). The therapist will make you comfortable in the room and assist you in getting positioned on the treatment table.
Two therapists will align the laser to the target on your skin, indicated by the “tattoo-like” markings. Alignment takes only a couple of minutes. The therapists will then leave the room to deliver and monitor your treatment.
During the treatment the machine will move over your body. You won’t feel anything. It’s much like having an x-ray. Sometimes the specific area of skin receiving treatment, can get tender and sunburned, your healthcare team will want to know if you are experiencing any burning or discomfort during your treatment. Your healthcare team will guide you with proper care of your skin. Typically the treatment takes about 10-15 minutes. The most common side effect of radiation therapy is fatigue – it is very important to get plenty of rest and adequate nutrition.
Generally, you will see your doctor weekly. However, we are always available if you need us.