|Each person's fight with cancer is individual. The cancer treatment team, headed by your physician, creates a treatment plan that is unique to you. In most cases, a combination of therapies is needed. That is why we have such a complete range of therapies.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy waves, like X-rays, to treat cancers. It can be used alone or with surgery and chemotherapy. Here are a few of the therapies available at Via Christi:
CyberKnife® - the very latest in stereotactic radiosurgery - that combines robotic technology with image-guidance to administer precision radiation treatments to previously inoperable tumors, without the need for rigid patient restraints or undue patient discomfort.
High dose rate brachytherapy treats cancerous growths with radioactive pellets injected directly into a tumor. This precise treatment delivers a higher dose of radiation to a smaller area in a shorter time than is possible with external radiation treatment. It is often used to treat lung, breast and endometrial or cervical cancers.
MammoSite RTS® is a powerful, short course of treatment for breast cancer after a lumpectomy. A MammoSite "balloon" is inserted into the tumor cavity during surgery or later through a small incision, and inflated with saline solution. High-dose radioactive seeds are placed inside the inflated balloon for daily treatments of about 15 minutes each, then removed. MammoSite treatments may last up to eight days, at which time the balloon is removed.
Computerized Medical Systems XiO® 3-D Conformal Radiation Therapy uses advanced computer imaging technology to direct its radiation at a tumor from many angles, confining its rays only to the tumor while shielding nearby healthy tissue and organs.
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy uses 3-D imaging to target tumors with variable strength radiation beams that conform to the shape of the tumor, protecting nearby healthy tissue from damage and minimizing side effects. IMRT is used on prostate cancer, head and neck tumors, and breast cancer.
Total body irradiation is used before bone marrow transplants, a treatment for leukemias and lymphomas. Radiation is given twice a day for four days, with treatments lasting about 15 minutes each. Normal tissues — the lungs, liver and kidneys — are shielded to protect them from excess radiation.
CT Simulation quickly creates an accurate, 3-dimensional "map" of a patient's tumor using CT scanning and laser positioning technology. As part of the treatment, skin markers are placed on the patient to precisely identify the treatment area. All of this information is transferred to the 3-dimensional planning computer and the linear accelerator, which is the treatment machine, so that treatments target the tumor while protecting the surrounding healthy tissue.
Nutrition support from specially trained dietitians helps patients with cancer and their families plan healthy diets tailored to their special dietary needs, including preventing or reversing weight loss during treatment.