At the University of Maryland Radiation Oncology Center at Union Hospital, we bring advanced radiation treatments to Cecil county. The goal of radiation therapy is to damage cancer cells so they can no longer reproduce. As they die off, a patient’s tumor shrinks. Normal cells affected by small amounts of radiation are able to repair themselves. Advanced radiation techniques do a better job at targeting radiation to the cancer cells while sparing healthy tissues. Here is an overview of the technologies we use to do that.
Our Varian TrueBeam linear accelerator, or LINAC, allows our radiation therapists to deliver treatments with sub-millimeter accuracy. Because it allows for personalized treatments, TrueBeam can be used for cancers in just about every part of the body. This includes cancers in complicated areas such as the head and neck, lungs, breast, abdomen and liver.
TrueBeam can deliver a variety of advanced radiation treatment, including image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) and RapidArc radiotherapy. IGRT allows the radiation oncologist and therapist to see your tumor in real time so it can be treated more precisely. IMRT allows the radiation oncologist to vary the amount of radiation reaching each part of your tumor so that certain parts receive a higher dose. SBRT is a treatment technique in which higher radiation doses are delivered in fewer treatment sessions. RapidArc helps shorten the time of each treatment. Your doctor will choose the treatment approach that is best for your situation.
Part of the TrueBeam’s power is that it uses a device called a multileaf collimator that allows the radiation beam to be shaped and reshaped as it passes through the tumor. This helps target the tumor while protecting the surrounding healthy tissues. TrueBeam also provides advanced 3-D imaging during treatment and synchronizes the delivery of radiation with the patient’s breathing.
CT (computed tomography) Simulation
Used during the simulation process which helps our experts plan your treatment, CT images help determine the location, shape and size of a tumor.
Access to Advanced Radiation Therapy Technologies through the University of Maryland
Through our partnership with the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), Union Hospital patients also have direct access to:
- Cancer treatment options not found elsewhere in the region, including:
- Proton therapy, one of the most advanced types of radiation therapies. The image-guided dose stops at the tumor site, limited radiation exposure to surrounding tissues.
- External thermal therapy boosts treatment effectiveness for breast cancer, head and neck cancer, melanoma, sarcomas and other cancers.
- Selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT) uses millions of microscopic beads to more directly treat inoperable liver cancer.
- Prostate Brachytherapy also known as a prostate seed implant, is a form of radiation therapy used to treat prostate cancer. Under the guidance of ultrasound imaging, tiny radioactive seeds are inserted directly into the prostate gland. The procedure is performed as an outpatient treatment and most patients go home the same day. The seeds slowly emit radiation that destroys cancer cells in the prostate while minimizing the dose received by healthy tissue nearby. The seeds remain in place for the rest of a patient’s life. They cause little to no discomfort, and their radioactivity decreases over several weeks to months. Brachytherapy may be used on its own for early stage disease or in combination with external beam radiation therapy for more advanced disease.