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Patient Care

Treatment Technologies

Radiation Techniques and Procedures for Gynecologic Cancer

Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3DCRT) conforms each radiation beam closely to the tumor treatment to reduce the dose to normal tissues and resulting side effects. Intensity-modulated radiation (IMRT) goes one step further by using multiple beam angles and modulating the intensity of each beam to more efficiently focus the radiation to the target and at the same time exclude normal tissues from each beam to protect normal tissues and further reduce side effects.

Brachytherapy Suite 

   In many gynecologic cancers, such as cervical cancer, vaginal cancer or cancer recurrences, the external beam radiation works hand-in-hand with Brachytherapy. Brachytherapy is given through specialized applicators that are implanted inside or very close to the tumor. Brachytherapy is also given based on imaging-guided treatment planning using CT, magnetic resonance imaging or both. Particularly, novel, image-guided brachytherapy (IGBT) that allows 3-dimensional treatment planning and inverse planning to sculpt the radiation dose precisely to the tumor and more effectively protect normal tissues, is routinely used at the Gynecologic Radiation Oncology service at the James.

    The combination of external radiation, brachytherapy and concurrent chemotherapy is highly individualized for each patient’s specific situation. The radiation therapy plan, details of combining external radiation, brachytherapy, and chemotherapy, and type of imaging used is individualized for each women’s specific clinical situation. During your consult visit and your treatment planning visit, the treatment plan will be developed and the details, rationale of therapy, length of radiation therapy course, treatment procedures and expected side effects will be reviewed

   Radiation therapy frequently works hand-in-hand with chemotherapy. We closely collaborate with the Gynecologic Oncology Service to integrate your radiation therapy with your chemotherapy treatments. Chemotherapy may cause nausea, fatigue, low blood counts, susceptibility to infections and temporary thinning ot loss of hair.

Image-guided radiation therapy

   Imaging guidance may also be included if special imaging is performed prior to treatments to assure that the treatment position is precisely on the target. For image guidance, CT images are taken by the linear accelerator immediately before the treatment delivery; and these images are compared with those form the planning scans will assure highest precision in treatment set up.