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Welcome to Radiation Oncology Department of High Technology Medical Center, University Clinic (HTMC)
We are committed to providing the latest radiation technology and highly individualized treatments for our patients.
Every member of the Department of Radiaton Oncology strives to provide the highest quality of care for you as our patient. Our goal is to design a treatment experience that is tailored to your specific needs in a caring and supportive environment.
What Is Radiation Therapy?
Radiation therapy is one of the many tools used to treat cancers and some benign diseases. Radiation treatments utilize high-energy waves to kill cancer cells. Radiation can be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments, such as surgery or chemotherapy, to cure or stabilize cancer.
The choice to use radiation to treat a particular cancer depends on a wide range of factors. These include, but are not limited to, the type of cancer, the physical state of the patient, the stage of the cancer, and the location of the tumor.
Our Mission: The Department of Radiation Oncology serves the community through advanced innovation, translational research and clinical application of radiation therapy. The department is committed to excellence in scholarship and to the training of the next generation of radiation oncologists, technologists, and medical physicists. The department's goal is to provide the highest quality patient care through clinical investigation and implementation of improved treatment planning and delivery technologies.
Clinical Trials: Radiation Oncology participates in a various clinical trials investigating such topics as more effective treatments for cancer and the prevention of treatment side effects.
Radiation Treatments and Services
The Department of Radiation Oncology at High Technology Medical Center, University Clinic is committed to obtaining the latest technology to provide highly individualized radiation treatment for our patients. Technologies we specialize in include:
3D Conformal Radiation Therapy
3D conformal radiation therapy is a radiation technique that uses radiation beams to conform the radiation being administered to a tumor. In some ways, this conformal technique is similar to IMRT. With conformal planning techniques, high doses of radiation may be given to a smaller target area, causing less damage to healthy tissue.
The basis of 3D conformal radiotherapy is CT simulation - 3-dimensional image is taken of your tumor and the image is analyzed by a computer program that designs radiation beams to fit the exact measurements of the tumor. During treatment, these directed beams are emitted from several different directions to maximize radiation exposure to the tumor alone.
Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) is the process of frequent two and three-dimensional imaging, during a course of radiation treatment. The patient is localized in the treatment room in the same position as planned from the reference imaging dataset. We are using two-dimensional (2D) IGRT with planar megavoltage (MV) images and digital reconstructed radiographs (DRRs) from the planning CT. Matching of these two with special software helps us to verify patient position and do the correction, if necessary. This ensures maximum coverage of target volume and protection of surrounding normal structures.
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
IMRT uses computer-generated images to plan and then deliver tightly focused radiation beams to a tumor. Because the method is so precise, it allows the radiation oncologist to increase the radiation dose delivered to the tumor, making it more effective.
IMRT's benefits to patients include fewer side effects and complications and, in some cases, greater probability of cure due to increased radiation dose to the tumor.
IMRT represents one of the first uses of treatment techniques to optimize the radiation delivery. The IMRT planning system evaluates millions of possible beam arrangements and yields an optimized treatment plan. This plan maximizes the radiation dose delivered to the tumor while minimizing the radiation dose delivered to the surrounding normal tissues.
Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a technique used to treat brain tumors. SRS delivers a large, single radiation dose with extreme accuracy. The radiosurgery program at Emory has been active since 1989, and we have treated more than 1,000 patients. Our multidisciplinary team consists of a neurosurgeon, radiation oncologist, and medical physicist involved in planning and treatment.
Brain Radiosurgery Process
SRS patients typically have an MRI scan performed as part of the diagnostic workup prior to radiosurgical treatment. On the morning of the procedure, the patient is admitted to Neurosurgery, where a stereotactic frame is attached to the skull under local anesthesia. This frame enables the physicians to pinpoint the tumor in three-dimensional space with extreme accuracy. A detailed CT scan is then performed with the headframe in place.
Next, the images from the CT scan are combined with the MRI images. The team uses these highly detailed images to precisely determine the location of the tumor and sensitive brain structures. A unique treatment plan is then developed for the patient.
The patient is brought to the treatment room, placed on the table, and accurately positioned. Treatment typically takes about 30 minutes. Once the treatment is completed, the stereotactic headframe is removed.
In most cases, only a single radiation treatment is required.
Nearly all SRS procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. After the headframe is removed, the patient is observed for an hour or so and then is able to return home.
Brachytherapy, also called internal radiation, is the process of implanting radioactive material inside the body, onto or near a tumor. With this mode of therapy, a powerful dose of radiation can be delivered directly to the tumor with less damage to the surrounding healthy tissue.
Examples of brachytherapy available in our department include:
- High dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy gynecologic cancers
- Prostate seed implants
What is high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy?
In HDR brachytherapy, a tiny radioactive source is passed through an implanted catheter. This source is controlled by a computer, which programs it to stay for various lengths of time in specified locations within the catheter in order to deliver precise doses of radiation. This system may be used for lung, breast and gynecologic tumors and is done on an outpatient basis, typically over a period of 1-5 days.
What are prostate seed implants?
Prostate seed implants are used to treat localized prostate cancer. A Urologist and Radiation Oncologist perform the procedure together. With this procedure, between 70 and 150 radioactive seeds (each about the size of a grain of rice) are implanted in the prostate gland. This technique allows higher doses of radiation to be delivered to the tumor site while limiting dose to surrounding normal tissues.
Before treatment, an ultrasound is performed to ensure that the prostate is not obstructed and is within the appropriate size range for implantation. This scan also assists the radiation oncologist in determining how many seeds are needed and where to place them. The actual implant procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, under general anesthesia and with ultrasound guidance. The patient is usually able to return to normal activity within 48 hours, although he may continue to have soreness and urinary symptoms for some time afterward.
Chemotherapy is medication delivered to the body to eliminate cancer cells or greatly reduce their effect. It targets cells that divide rapidly, a characteristic of most cancer cells.
Positron Emission Tomography:Positron emission tomography - computed tomography is a medical imaging technique using a device which combines in a single gantry system both a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and an x-ray Computed Tomography, so that images acquired from both devices can be taken sequentially and combined into a single superposed (co-registered) image. Thus, functional imaging obtained by PET, which depicts the spatial distribution of metabolic or biochemical activity in the body can be more precisely aligned or correlated with anatomic imaging obtained by CT scanning.
Establishing PET-CT investigation made it easier to diagnose cancer in its early stage, where probability of cure is quite high. PET/CT is widely used in: oncology, surgical planning, radiation therapy and etc.
Diagnostics of Thyroid Gland. Diagnostics of thyroid gland is performed using I-131 radiopharmaceuticals. Radiopharmaceuticals are presented in the form of tablets and are administered perorally. After several days patients are scanned on Gamma-Camera Unit.
Diagnostic Investigations using Tc-99 Radiopharmaceuticals. Tc-99 radiopharmaceuticals are used for diagnostics of different localizations: thyroid gland, heart, kidneys and bones. Radiopharmaceuticals are administered intravenously. After that patients are scanned on Gamma-Camera Unit.
Treatment of malignant and benign tumor of Thyroid gland using I-131 radiopharmaceuticals. Treatment of malignant and benign tumor of Thyroid gland are performed using I-131 radiopharmaceuticals. Radiopharmaceuticals are presented in the form of tablets and are administered perorally. During several days (3 or 4) patient is staying in the hospital in an isolated comfort room, equipped with all modern comunication systems. Individula contact is ensured through a small window located on the entrance door. Before leaving the clinic patients are scanned on Gamma-Camera Unit.