It's about survival and quality of life
Cancer care in the Department of Radiation Medicine is closely integrated with several other departments and services to ensure the patient gets the best possible treatment.
Quality of life is as important as survival, so we use a multi-disciplinary team approach that includes the patient in deciding what specialized therapies are to be used in each individual case.
A whole-patient approach to care
The physical and emotional needs of the patient are an integral part of treatment and recovery. The department’s whole-patient approach to care includes support staff who are available to assist patients in developing supportive care plans to meet their individual needs. Our staff works closely with agencies such as the American Cancer Society to link patients with services in their respective communities.
Using Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), physicians can control the shape and depth of radiation beams, minimizing the dose to surrounding normal organs while increasing the intensity to the tumor. Because exposure to healthy structures is limited, patients who undergo IMRT will generally have fewer side effects than those who undergo conventional radiation therapy.
This is particularly important with today's cutting-edge treatments because most patients also receive chemotherapy, which can increase adverse reactions.
Recent technological advances along with clinical studies by UK faculty members have contributed to the development and optimization of IMRT techniques.
"IMRT allows us to make a distinction between cancer cells and normal tissues with our radiation delivery," St. Clair said. "We are now able to treat tumors while avoiding patient complications associated with traditional radiation therapy. In 10 years, this treatment will be the norm."
Traditional radiation therapy involves directing several, separate X-ray beams to the tumor from different angles.
IMRT replaces typical uniform beam intensities with controlled variations of intensity across each beam. The beam modulation allows the radiation energy from all beams to be deposited closely on the tumor, thus avoiding nearby healthy tissues. By targeting only the tumor, IMRT reduces possible adverse effects of the radiation.
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Page last updated Monday, August 22, 2011