Thanks to advances in modern oncology, many surgical and nonsurgical treatments are available after a cancer diagnosis. In most cases, physicians prescribe a combination of treatments to give patients the best chance for recovery. Radiation is among the most common of these treatments due to its effectiveness in eliminating many types of cancer. The Oncology Department at Richmond University Medical Center offers radiation therapy alongside other treatment options to provide comprehensive cancer care for patients in Staten Island.
What Is Radiation Therapy?
Radiation therapy can be used in the curative treatment of cancer either alone or in combination with other treatments. Radiation therapy can also be utilized for cancer related symptoms. Radiation therapy utilizes high doses of energy to damage the DNA of cancer cells. After this damage, the cells can no longer repair themselves. As they die, the body breaks down the cells and removes them. Radiation therapy may continue to work for weeks or even months after treatment.
Types of Radiation Therapy
Your radiation oncologist can use several types of radiation therapy to treat your cancer. Most common type, external beam radiation, uses a state-of-the-art linear accelerator unit to deliver powerful X-rays to the tumor(s). This machine moves around the patient’s body as it targets tumors and uses integrated safety measures to protect healthy tissue and ensure safe doses of radiation.
Another type of treatment may involve placement of radioactive treatment directly into or surrounding the tumor, called brachytherapy. Richmond University Medical Center offers High Dose Rate brachytherapy, an extremely powerful and effective treatment for a variety of cancers. This type of radiation therapy is also used to eliminate any remaining cancer cells after the surgical removal of a tumor.
Systemic radiation treatment travels through the bloodstream to the tissues that contain cancer cells. This medication may be swallowed, or given intravenously in certain cases. The type of radiation therapy you receive and the duration of your treatment depends on several factors, including:
- The type and stage of the cancer
- Other cancer treatments received
- Overall health
- Additional medical conditions
- Your age
- Medical history
- Location of the tumor and its proximity to healthy tissues
Your radiation oncologist will explain which radiation therapy is best suited to your needs and answer all your questions before treatment, so you feel confident in your care plan.
Benefits and Side Effects
Nearly two thirds of cancer patients receive radiation therapy as part of their treatment. Radiation therapy can be delivered conveniently as an outpatient treatment and requires only a few minutes for each session. During your treatment, the radiation oncology team will monitor your progress and tolerance to treatment. They will communicate with your physicians and update them on a regular basis. Side effects are usually confined to the area of treatment, and are generally manageable by your treatment team. Your radiation oncologist will review the potential benefits, as well as the potential side effects prior to treatment.
Staten Island’s Choice for Radiation Therapy
For over 80 consecutive years, the oncology program at Richmond University Medical Center has been accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. Whether you require radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or surgery, our oncology team will use the latest in diagnostic and treatment technology to deliver high-quality care. To learn more about our oncology services, contact our Center for Cancer Care at (718)-818-3000. The Center for Cancer Care is located at 1000 South Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10314.