- Radiation OncologyBillings Clinic Cancer Center
- To Make an Appointment:
801 North 29th St
Billings, MT 59101
Radiation Therapy is a form of cancer treatment that works by delivering radiation to a specific area in the body.
This area is targeted to deliver radiation to the cancer or tumor site and to limit the amount of normal tissue that is exposed to radiation.
The radiation damages (breaks the instructions that allow a cancer cell to grow and reproduce) and ultimately kills the cancer cell. The goal of the radiation is to maximize the number of cancer cells killed in order to lead to a cure while limiting the number of normal cells exposed to radiation to minimize or lessen side effects.
- SRS (Stereotactic Radiosurgery) is a form of radiation (imagine a laser pointer) that allows us to operate on cranial lesions within the brain without the use of invasive techniques. This technology allows us to focus a large amount of radiation to a very accurate area within the brain. Our accuracy is in the range of about 1mm, or about the diameter of a pinhead. We "paint" radiation to areas of the brain that typically could not be safely reached by surgery, and now give hope to patients with brain tumors.
This treatment occurs in one day, and treatment time can vary based on technique used. Typically patients can come in the morning for their treatment, be home by the afternoon, and back to work the following day. In comparison, if these same patients would undergo surgery, they would be in the hospital and out of their normal daily routine for days or even weeks.
- SBRT (Stereotactic Body Radiosurgery) is much like SRS (again imagine a laser pointer) except that we administer the treatment to other areas of the body other then the brain. We are able to focus this same type of SRS treatment to tumors such as lung or liver. The only real difference is that instead of patients getting their treatment all at once, in one day, we administer it over the course of three to five treatments. Again, each treatment only lasts a small amount of time, and most patients can return to their normal daily routines the same day.
- EBRT (External Beam Radiation Therapy) is another name for the conventional methods of treating patients with high energy x-rays, or radiation, for cancer. This means that the radiation is produced from a large machine and is administered to a patient while lying on a table. Patients do not feel the radiation, the treatment does not hurt, and once the machine is turned off, there is no radiation left in the person's body. This type of treatment typically lasts about 45-60 seconds.
- IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy) Is a beam of radiation (imagine a small flashlight) that allows us to focus a precise amount of radiation to deposit in an area affected with cancer and limit exposure to areas that are without cancer. It allows us to “paint” doses of radiation to various areas within the body. We can “paint” a lot of radiation to the tumor, and “paint” little radiation to the normal tissue and organs. This helps with tumor control and decrease in side effects.
This is usually done with the machine stopping at several different angles (think of angles around a circle) and treating from seven or more stops around this circle. Treatment usually takes from 10 to 45 minutes depending on the area being treated and complexity of the plan.
- IGRT (Image Guided Radiation Therapy): IGRT is another major advancement in Radiation Oncology. IGRT allows physicians the ability to take a "picture" of the cancer and its location on a daily basis, and then allow for adjustments based on that information. Patients can have physical changes which may effect the location of the tumor. By being able to visually locate the tumor daily, the physicians can make adjustments for those changes and ensure that we are targeting the cancer and minimizing the exposure to normal tissues.
- HDR (High Dose Rate Brachytherapy): HDR is a form of therapy that allows radiation oncologists to administer radiation within, close to, or on top of the actual cancer. This allows physicians to treat certain types of cancer with a very intense amount of radiation to a very small and internal area of the body. This type of treatment can be administered to the prostate, breast, , the bronchi in the lungs, the esophagus, and the cervix, uterus, and vagina.
- Rapid Arc (Rotational or Arc IMRT) It allows us to treat using IMRT, but instead of making several stops along the circle, we can administer the treatment all at once as the machine is continuously moving. So by allowing the machine to move at the same time as it is on, it reduces treatment time to two minutes or less per Arc.
This process is also known as “tomotherapy”. This is especially useful for patients that can not stay still for long periods of time or are having difficulty breathing. It’s also very effective for patients that receive SRS or SBRT considering you can administer, or “paint”, a lot of radiation to a very precise and specific area in a very quick amount of time.