External beam radiation therapy, or teletherapy, involves a machine used to direct high-energy X-rays as a radiation treatment. This is currently the most common category of radiation treatment.
We offer all of these specific kinds of external beam radiation therapy:
3D conformal radiation therapy is a standard form of external beam radiation therapy and one of the cornerstones of modern radiation oncology.
Advances in imaging and computing technology allow radiation therapy to be delivered more safely and accurately. Simulation and treatment planning for radiation treatment relies upon a computed tomography (CT) scan to acquire patient anatomical information and ensure the correct position for daily set-up and treatment. This image data set is then used to plan your radiation treatments.
Another advantage of 3D conformal radiation therapy is that it can allow radiation therapy to be delivered more safely. Sophisticated software allows your doctor to more accurately define the radiation target, resulting in better sparring of normal tissue.
Currently, Radiation Oncology Associates provides 3D-CRT at all of our locations in New Hampshire and Massachusetts:
An advanced version of 3D conformal radiation therapy is called intensity modulated radiation therapy, or IMRT.
IMRT is a highly accurate technique for the delivery of radiation treatments. IMRT uses either multiple “static” beams or “arc” therapy to optimize radiation dose to the target structure while minimizing radiation dose to the non-target normal structures. In doing so, IMRT can be used to treat tumors adjacent to, or within, critical organs.
In some diseases, such as prostate cancer, higher radiation doses with IMRT now allow better tumor control than was previously possible. In carefully selected cases, this technology has allowed radiation oncologists to make a meaningful difference to improve the outcomes for patients.
Currently, Radiation Oncology Associates provides IMRT at all of our locations in New Hampshire and Massachusetts:
With the higher precision of intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), it has become increasingly important to consider any small movements that may take place. Each treatment (or fraction) is designed the same, but movement may occur in the target or normal tissue from day to day (interfraction) or during treatment (intrafraction).
Image guided radiation therapy (IGRT) requires more frequent imaging to confirm through the course of treatment that your radiation treatments are being delivered accurately and safely. Using CT, ultrasound, x-rays, fiducial markers or electromagnetic transponders, IGRT can further improve upon IMRT to provide this precision.
Additionally, IGRT has made it possible to consider giving larger doses of external beam radiation to shorten the length of treatment for some diseases. The advances in IGRT have helped make newer techniques such as stereotactic body radiation therapy possible.
Radiation Oncology Associates offers image guided radiation therapy routinely for selected cases where multiple types of imaging or higher precision is needed. We currently provide IGRT at all of our locations in New Hampshire and Massachusetts:
Sometimes there is no substitute for the original. Orthovoltage radiation therapy has been available for decades. For treating very superficial tumors, like skin cancer, orthovoltage often is a superior form of external beam radiation therapy in its ability to minimize normal tissue exposure to radiation. No longer frequently utilized by many radiation oncology centers that favor “high tech” approaches, Radiation Oncology Associates continues to use orthovoltage therapy in situations where therapeutic benefit is expected.
While stereotactic radiosurgery has applied high precision radiation treatment to the brain; stereotactic body radiation therapy takes advantage of the precision of image guided radiation therapy (IGRT) to deliver larger radiation doses safely outside the central nervous system.
As a result, extracranial SBRT can range from one to several treatments, but much less than more standard courses of radiation therapy. SBRT is typically utilized of curative intent and routinely used as a treatment option in early stage lung cancer, particularly if surgery may not be possible. It may have emerging roles for liver cancer, pancreas cancer, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, and paraspinal tumors. When cure isn’t possible, in selected circumstances SBRT may help relieve symptoms or allow retreatment with radiation.
We currently provide SBRT at all of our locations in New Hampshire and Massachusetts:
Stereotactic radiosurgery is utilized to deliver a single large dose of radiation to certain tumors arising within the brain/skull or spreading from other sites to the brain.
Utilizing CT based imaging in conjunction with high resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), SRS is able to safely and effectively deliver high-dose, ablative treatments within the brain. Traditionally, SRS has required the use of a head frame to ensure sub-millimeter precision. More recently with the use of IGRT, more rigid immobilization masks and in some cases, surface rendering technology, we can now avoid an unnecessary and uncomfortable step using an immobilization frame in the majority of patients and offer frameless stereotactic radiosurgery.