Linear Accelerator (LINAC) Therapy in Staten Island, NY
Richmond University Medical Center takes advantage of the latest advancements in cancer care to create personalized treatment plans for each patient. For patients who require external beam radiation therapy, Richmond University Medical Center has specialized medical equipment known as a linear accelerator. Serving patients throughout Staten Island, New York, and the surrounding area, the hospital’s cancer program has been accredited for over 80 years by the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer. Learn more about linear accelerator therapy offered at Richmond University Medical Center, how it works, and the potential side effects.
What Is Linear Accelerator Radiation Therapy?
A linear accelerator (LINAC) is a medical device used to treat cancer. The device speeds up the electrons which deliver radiator therapy to destroy tumor cells. LINACs are used in external beam radiation therapy, including:
- Image guided radiation therapy (IGRT): This treatment method uses real-time medical imaging to improve the precision of radiation treatment.
- Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS): This is a non-surgical form of targeted radiation therapy often used in brain cancer treatment.
These devices aim precise beams of radiation to target and kill cancer cells, without damaging the surrounding healthy tissue.
What to Expect during Linear Accelerator Therapy
If a patient with cancer is a good candidate for radiation therapy, their cancer care team will explain the treatment plan and provide a schedule of radiation appointments. Before beginning radiation, the patient will undergo imaging tests, such as a CT scan or MRI. They may also have fiducial markers placed inside their body. These are small metal markers that help radiation oncologists pinpoint the location of a tumor.
During a radiation therapy appointment, a patient will be placed on a treatment table in a specific position. Depending on the type of cancer they have, they may also have a frame or mold placed over their body. The radiation therapist controls the medical device from a separate room, but they are in constant communication with the patient.
The radiation is non-invasive and is not painful, but after multiple appointments, a patient may begin to develop side effects. After a radiation session is complete, patients can typically go about their normal activities. The number of radiation appointments a patient has will depend on several factors, including the stage of their cancer and the location and size of their tumor.
Cancers Treated with Linear Accelerator Therapy
Linear accelerator radiation therapy can be used anywhere on the body. LINACs are now used in the treatment of several types of cancer, including:
- Bladder cancer
- Brain cancer
- Breast cancer
- Liver cancer
- Lung cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
In treating these cancers, LINACs help to preserve organ function by minimizing radiation exposure.
Potential Side Effects
When radiation destroys or slows the growth of cancer cells, it can also damage the healthy tissue that surrounds a tumor. This damage can lead to side effects. For most patients with cancer, the most common side effect of radiation is fatigue. Other typical side effects are loss of appetite, hair loss, and changes to the skin around the area that is being treated. The skin might feel itchy or tender, develop a rash or redness, or begin to peel.
Other linear accelerator radiation therapy side effects can vary depending on the type of cancer that a patient has and the area of the body that is being treated. For example, radiation in the chest area for breast or lung cancer can lead to:
- Shortness of breath
- Sore breast or nipple tissue
Radiation to the abdomen, in contrast, might cause side effects such as:
Fortunately, because LINACs allow for more precision and accuracy, the radiation exposure to nearby organs and tissues is minimal. This can mean fewer side effects for patients during and after treatment.
While side effects usually resolve a few months after treatment is complete, they can be difficult to manage. A patient’s cancer care team can recommend certain medications and lifestyle changes that can help mitigate radiation side effects and make the patient more comfortable throughout treatment.
Find Linear Accelerator Therapy in Staten Island, NY
For patients in Staten Island, NY, who have recently been diagnosed with cancer, expert care is available close to home. The radiation oncology team at Richmond University Medical Center has extensive experience with advanced cancer care technologies like linear accelerator therapy. The hospital has a dedicated Center for Cancer Care with an experienced, board-certified group of oncologists. Other onsite treatment options include:
● Targeted therapy For more information about cancer treatment options or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.