Radiation Technology

The Kadlec Tri-Cities Cancer Center continually invests in cutting edge radiation oncology technology, keeping patients close to home for their treatment and care.

Industry leader, Varian Medical Systems, has developed both of our treatment systems: The Edge radiosurgery system and the Trilogy stereotactic system.

Both systems offer radiosurgery, which opens the door for treatment options for patients who may not have had other options. For example, a patient may not be candidate for traditional surgery. Radiosurgery gives medical professionals new tools for treating more types of cancer and other conditions.

The Edge™

The Edge radiosurgery system is truly the latest in radiation oncology technology. This system accurately targets tumors and other abnormalities without an incision or the need for recovery in a hospital setting. Its knifelike beam (see video below) can accurately target tumors of the brain, spine, lung, and other areas that are typically difficult to treat surgically.

The Edge system delivers radiosurgery treatments quickly while monitoring and compensating for motion through the use of advanced imaging and real-time motion tracking technologies. Even tumors that move when a patient breathes (for example, those in the lung or breast, see video below) can be precisely targeted due to special tools that compensate for motion throughout a treatment. A sophisticated treatment couch with six axes of motion enhances treatment precision by providing additional angles for targeting tumors.

The Edge system can complete these sophisticated treatments in just a few minutes per day. A complex radiosurgery that typically takes 30 to 60 minutes can usually be completed in less than 15 minutes. This is important, as independent studies have shown that with faster treatments there is less time for tumor and patient movement.

Watch video - Edge Dose Delivery Tight Beam 640x360
Watch video - Edge Motion Management 640x360wmv

The Trilogy™

The Trilogy™ stereotactic system is a robotic and automated system, which combines a state-of-the-art treatment machine, optimized for ultra-precise treatment modalities like stereotactic radiosurgery, with high-quality imaging, tracking and monitoring technologies, enabling doctors to deliver the most accurate treatments possible in the shortest amount of time.

The Trilogy system incorporates a high-quality imaging device that enables clinicians to position patients very precisely and to deliver the radiation dose directly to a targeted area with submillimeter accuracy, guided by three-dimensional images of the patient’s anatomy. The system’s versatility makes it appropriate for treating a wide range of abnormalities. The Trilogy system also incorporates technology that can compensate for any movements a patient might make during treatment, as well as normal respiratory motion. This system also utilizes a sophisticated treatment couch providing additional angles for targeting tumors. These tools translate into faster treatments, greater patient comfort, and the potential for better outcomes and fewer side effects.

Watch video - War On Cancer

Types of Radiosurgery

A linear accelerator is used to deliver high-energy,external beam radiation therapy (EBRT)to a specific part of the body.

EBRT radiation treatment causes changes in the cells, especially those that are out-of-control and dividing rapidly, which is often the case with cancer cells.

When administered, radiation causes damage to the affected cells, which in turn either destroys the cells or prevents them from growing and dividing.

Through precise targeting, surrounding healthy tissue is minimally affected by the radiation as healthy cells do not divide at the same rate as cancerous cells. If healthy cells are impacted they are able to repair themselves at a much quicker rate than cancerous cells.

SRS stands for Stereotactic Radiosurgery and SBRT stands for Stereotactic Radiation Body Therapy. Both are more advanced cancer treatment options which allow for shorter treatment times, fewer side effects, and better chances for a cure. Patients at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center will benefit from this new treatment option for some liver, lung, spine, and brain tumors.

SRS (one-session treatment) and SBRT (3-5 session treatments) has such a dramatic effect in the target zone that the changes are considered “surgical.” Through the use of three-dimensional computer-aided planning and the high degree of immobilization, the treatment can minimize the amount of radiation that passes through healthy tissue of the barin and other vital organs.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) is routinely uses to treat brain tumors and lesions. It may be the primary treatment, used when a tumor is inaccessible by traditional surgical means; or as a boost or adjunct to other treatments for a recurring or malignant tumor. Stereotactic Radiation Body Therapy (SBRT) is routinely used to treat lung cancer and for patients with small tumors or those who have few tumors throughout the whole body.

IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy) is used to treat head and neck cancers, prostate cancer, and certain types of abdominal cancer.

This type of therapy tightly conforms the radiation distribution to the irregular shape of a tumor. Instead of treating a tumor with a few uniform, flat beams as in the past, IMRT treats the tumor with several small beams of different intensities.

The intensity of each of these individual beams is optimized to directly target and destroy the tumor. 

Radiation therapists at the Cancer Center use an advanced type of IMRT that is fitted with a multileaf collimeter, a device with a series of computer controlled mobile apertures that subdivide radiation beams into many “beamlets” aimed in various directions, providing varying intensities of radiation.

This type of IMRT also uses a dynamic delivery system, or a “sliding windows” technique that further optimizes radiation delivery by improving its accuracy to specifically targeted areas in a tumor.

IGRT (Image-guided radiation therapy) is the use of frequent imaging during a course of radiation therapy to improve the precision and accuracy of the delivery of the treatment.

IGRT is used to treat tumors in areas of the body that are prone to movement, such as the lungs (affected by breathing) and prostate gland, as well as tumors located close to critical organs and tissues. It is often used in conjunction with intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), an advanced mode of high-precision radiotherapy that utilizes computer-controlled x-ray accelerators to deliver precise radiation doses to a malignant tumor or specific areas within the tumor.

In IGRT, machines that deliver radiation, such as a linear accelerator, are equipped with imaging technology so that the physician can image the tumor immediately before or even during the time radiation is delivered, while the patient is positioned on the treatment table. Using specialized computer software, these images are then compared to the images taken during simulation. Any necessary adjustments are then made to the patient’s position and/or radiation beams in order to more precisely target radiation at the tumor and avoid healthy surrounding tissue.

In addition to external beam treatments, a patient’s cancer care may dictate the use of internal radiation therapy also known as brachytherapy. This high dose internal radiation therapy is delivered by precisely placing a radiation source directly inside or next to the area requiring treatment and is often a more convenient radiation option for many patients.

HDR Brachytherapy uses a naturally occurring radiation source remotely inserted into the tumor site through a catheter. Primarily used to treat breast, gynecological, esophagus, and lung cancers this therapy treats tumors more quickly than the low dose rate and shortens the patient’s experience from a hospital stay to an outpatient treatment.

At the Tri-Cities Cancer Center we offer Breast Brachytherapy as an option to treat breast cancer. When a lumpectomy is performed, a deflated balloon is placed in the space where the tumor was located. A catheter is then attached to the balloon and leads outside the body. The radiation source travels from the equipment, through the catheter, and into the balloon. The patient receives approximately five days of breast brachytherapy treatment, twice a day.

Breast Brachytherapy is used to treat breast cancer.

When a lumpectomy is performed, a deflated balloon is placed in the space where the tumor was located. A catheter is then attached to the balloon, and leads outside the body. The radiation source travels from the equipment, through the catheter, and into the balloon. The patient receives approximately five days of breast brachytherapy treatment, twice a day.

This treatment is a more convenient radiation option for many patients.