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Treatments and Procedures

Leading-edge inpatient and outpatient radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill malignant cells by interfering with their ability to reproduce within the body. This localized treatment can be used to cure cancer, control the growth or spread of cancer, and provide comfort by alleviating the symptoms cancer sometimes can cause.

The Blount Memorial radiation therapy team uses a 3-D treatment planning computer system to precisely target treatment sites, minimizing radiation to normal – and healthy – tissues. Before, during and after treatment, radiation oncology patients receive one-on-one assistance from the supportive and specially trained team members.

Leading-edge radiation therapy technologies and treatment capabilities available at Blount Memorial include:

Varian Medical Systems linear accelerator: Housed in a specially shielded treatment room, the accelerator uses microwave energy to produce radiation that is lethal to normal and malignant cells. Healthy cells repair themselves if the dose is not too high, and malignant cells die.

GE Medical Systems PET/CT scanner: The integrated system provides detailed and accurate images that pinpoint the exact location of the cancer, helping physicians diagnose and detect cancer in the earliest, most-treatable stages. Scans are simple, painless and quick for patients.

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy: This type of therapy uses computer images to match radiation dose to a patient’s tumor size and shape, allowing higher radiation while significantly reducing the exposure to surrounding healthy tissue

Image-guided radiation therapy: Radiation dosages are delivered directly to a tumor – even one that is moving – using IGRT technology. This means fewer side effects from radiation, while actually giving the tumor more dose than before. The treatment is being used for prostate, lung and pancreatic tumors, as they move the most.

Respiratory gating: As patients breathe, tumors in certain locations of the body -- such as the lungs -- can move. Respiratory gating software allows the radiation beam to focus on the tumor, while sparing more healthy tissue. Without it, the radiation would be delivered to the entire area that a tumor moves through as the patient breathes, which could include healthy tissue.

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