Fairview Range’s Radiation Therapy department, located at Fairview Range Medical Center in Hibbing, has recently undergone extensive remodeling efforts and now offers state-of-the-art radiation therapy services for cancer patients.
Though Fairview Range has long-provided radiation therapy services to cancer patients, the thoroughly reconstructed Radiation Therapy wing now provides patients with the very latest treatment techniques and equipment.
Fairview Range has the most advanced linear accelerator in the region. It targets tumors with the highest degree of accuracy and minimizes the amount of damage to surrounding healthy cells.
When patients are positioned on a treatment couch, an X-ray system mounted on a robotic arm is rotated around the body, to gather images that pinpoint a tumor’s exact location. These images are then compared with existing images (MRI, CT or other kinds of scans) in order to determine if the tumor has moved since the last treatment. Tumors can end up in different positions from one treatment session to another. In addition, tumors can move several centimeters due to a patient’s normal respiratory cycle.
Not only can tumors move during treatment (usually due to patient respiration), but also between treatments (usually due to day-to-day variations in patient setup). Dynamic Targeting® IGRT offers clinicians advanced imaging techniques to verify patient position and tumor position at the time of treatment. Knowing exactly where the tumor is allows clinicians to reduce the volume of tissue irradiated, targeting only the tumor and sparing the surrounding normal tissue. Irradiating less normal tissue reduces the toxicity of radiotherapy, improving the patient’s quality of life, and may make it possible to deliver higher radiation doses to the tumor and thereby increases the likelihood of local tumor control and cure.
External beam radiation therapy (3-D): External beam radiation therapy targets tumors from outside the body using beams of ionizing radiation. In 3D, a computer is used to create a 3 dimensional picture of the tumor to conform or match the radiation beam to the shape of the tumor. Many radiation beams are aimed at the tumor from different angles, sparing normal tissue as much as possible.
IMRT: Intensity modulated radiation therapy: Allows the amount of radiation to be varied across different parts of the beam. The radiation therapy dose can be sculpted to match the size, shape and density of the tumor, increasing its effectiveness and avoiding damage to surrounding healthy tissue and organs.
IGRT: Image-guided radiation therapy: Uses CT and KV imaging to precisely target tumors which can change daily. The position of the patient can than be adjusted during treatment as needed- to ensure the treatment delivery is exactly on target.
SBRT: Stereotactic body radiation therapy: Uses precisely focused radiation beams to treat tumors. Delivers high doses of radiation to the tumor with minimal exposure to healthy tissue. It is delivered in fewer sessions, using smaller radiation fields and higher doses in most cases. Can be used to treat only small isolated tumors.
RapidArc: delivers a complete IMRT treatment with a single rotation of the treatment machine around the patient. It involves varying the intensity of the radiation being used, shaping the radiation dose so that it conforms closely to the 3 dimensional shape of the tumor, and also using image guidance and IMRT. Treatments are completed faster and more comfortably for patients.
DIBH: Deep inspiration breath-hold: The accurate delivery of radiation therapy in conjunction with DIBH technology is an effective method of limiting radiation exposure to the heart and lungs for patients with left-sided breast cancer. In addition to pushing the treatment area away from nearby vital organs, DIBH elimates movement caused by breathing. This allows for treatment volumes and margins to be reduced. Patients will be assessed for their breath hold capability during simulation. During DIBH, the patient wears a pair of video goggles which displays their breathing cycle and shows them when they need to inhale and hold their breath. Our voluntary breath-hold equipment allows patients to be in control of their breathing at all times. If for any reason the patient can’t hold their breath, they are able to breathe freely and delivery of treatment is stopped until they are ready to resume.
Also during your first appointment, a radiation therapy nurse will review the radiation treatment process, coordinate your care and answer questions you or your family members may have about
treatment. Please allow 1-1/2 to 2 hours for this appointment.
When radiation therapy has been selected as an appropriate course of treatment, the next step is called simulation. CT simulation is a process used by the radiation therapy team to determine the exact location and size of the area to be treated. This will be done on a CT scanner. This is usually scheduled for another day and may take from a half hour to approximately two hours.
Radiation therapy is usually given daily Monday through Friday for six to eight weeks. The addition of a second linear accelerator allows for uninterrupted treatment schedules. Each session is approximately 15 minutes in duration. The number of treatments is determined during the treatment planning process by the Radiation Oncologist.
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