It's about survival and quality of life
Cancer care at UK Radiation Medicine is closely integrated with specialists from several other departments and services to ensure our patients get the best possible treatment.
In addition to survival, quality of life is an important outcome, 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 patient's physical and emotional needs are an integral part of treatment and recovery. Our department's whole-patient approach to care includes support staff who are available to assist patients in developing supportive care plans to meet their needs. Our staff works closely with agencies such as the American Cancer Society to link patients with services in their communities.
IMRT - a new, safer treatment
Using Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), UK HealthCare physicians can control the shape and depth of radiation beams. This minimizes the dose to surrounding normal, healthy organs and tissues while increasing the dose to the tumor. Patients who are treated with IMRT may have fewer side effects than patients who undergo conventional radiation therapy. Clinical studies by UK HealthCare physicians helped develop IMRT techniques.
Selected patients with lung, prostate, pancreas, head and neck, and other cancers may benefit from this new treatment, said William St. Clair, MD, PhD, associate professor, UK Radiation Medicine.
"IMRT allows us to make a distinction between cancer cells and normal tissues with our radiation delivery," said Dr. St. Clair. "We are now able to treat tumors while avoiding patient complications associated with traditional radiation therapy. In 10 years, this treatment will be the standard."
Traditional radiation therapy directs several separate X-ray beams to the tumor from different angles.
IMRT replaces the equalized radiation beam intensities with controlled variations of radiation intensity for each beam. Changing the beam's intensity allows the radiation energy to close in on the tumor and avoid nearby healthy tissues. By targeting only the tumor, IMRT reduces possible negative effects of radiation therapy.
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