Depending on your disease and specific circumstance, patients may be offered one of the therapeutic choices below. All choices are not available or appropriate for every type of cancer.
Brachytherapy is a form of therapy where the source of radiation is placed adjacent to or inside the cancer lesion to be treated. Brachytherapy technique allows for a high dose of targeted radiation to be delivered to a cancer, while being highly protective of adjacent healthy tissue.
As a result, for appropriate patients, Brachytherapy may offer a good option to decrease the side effects of radiation treatment.
Brachytherapy is commonly recommended as an option for cancer of the Prostate , Breast , and for Gynecological cancers. This technique may also be available as a boost (or in addition to) an External Beam or Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy course of treatment.
Dr. James McGee of OSF Saint Francis Medical Center was the first to offer treatments using High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy in downstate Illinois.
Our department is the most experienced provider for Brachytherapy procedures in the region, and the sole department able to offer tertiary Brachytherapy services to highly complex sites such as the Head & Neck region.
Both High Dose and Low Dose Rate Brachytherapy procedures are also offered by OSF Saint Francis providers.
External Beam Radiation Therapy
External Beam Radiation Therapy or EBRT is common for the treatment of cancers of the Breast and Lung , but may be offered for any cancer patient. EBRT is delivered using a linear accelerator, which treats the lesion from a number of angles around to the body to maximize the effective treatment dose while minimizing side effects.
EBRT is the most commonly prescribed radiation therapy treatment for cancer patients across the United States.
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy or IMRT is a high precision technique to allow the radiation therapy dose to be better shaped to conform to the target volume, while sparing normal healthy tissue.
IMRT is normally treated using a Linear Accelerator, with thin, movable metal sheets called multi-leaf collimators to shape the dose delivered to a cancer, while blocking dose that would otherwise affect healthy tissue.
RapidArc therapy is a new technique which allows radiation therapy to be delivered from all angles as the treatment machine rotates around the patient up to 360°, while utilizing an IMRT technique to shape dose. RapidArc therapy is commonly offered to patients with prostate and head & neck cancers.
Image Guided Radiation Therapy
Image Guided Radiation Therapy, or IGRT, refers to the use of x-ray, CT, or other imaging techniques to position and track a patient before radiation is delivered. All Linear Accelerators at Saint Francis Medical Center are outfitted with multiple options for sophisticated image guidance. IGRT may be used as a part of EBRT, IMRT, and RapidArc therapies.
A new IGRT development, Vision RT, is an optical surface monitoring system which uses three 3D cameras to track the surface body contour of a patient and confirm they are properly positioned for safe radiation treatment. Vision RT allows appropriate patients to be spared the additional radiation dose from x-ray or CT imaging during treatment. Vision RT is installed on all Linear Accelerators across the SFMC Radiation Oncology department.
Stereotactic Radiation/Stereotactic Radiosurgery
Stereotactic Radiation utilizes highly precise and highly focused radiation fields to a specifically defined target in the body with extreme accuracy. By definition, it delivers a high radiation dose over 1-5 treatments, or fractions of radiation therapy. Some cancers respond better to the high doses of Stereotactic Radiation over just a few days than many daily small doses with EBRT.
Stereotactic Radiation can be separated into several types of therapy that are similar with respect to their delivery technique:
Stereotactic Radiosurgery , or SRS, is the treatment of targets in the brain or spine with a single large dose of radiation in a single day. Treatment of a target in the brain or spine over 2-5 days of treatment is still radiosurgery, but is not considered SRS.
Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy, or SBRT, is the treatment of all other sites of disease with between 1-5 fractions of high doses of radiation.
Stereotractic Radiation may be offered either with a Linear Accelerator, or with a specialized machine for Brain Radiosurgery, such as the Leksell Gamma Knife radiosurgery system. Stereotactic procedures require specialized equipment to be performed safely.
When it comes to treating brain metastases and neurological disorders, doctors and staff at OSF HealthCare Illinois Neurological Institute (OSF INI) recognize that time is crucial. That’s why our Gamma Knife Center offers rapid consultation by a group of physicians dedicated to comprehensive, individualized and compassionate care. Each patient receives treatment that is precisely tailored to his or her individual needs, which may include Gamma Knife radiosurgery, another form of surgery, or radiotherapy.
OSF Saint Francis Medical Center is the first in downstate Illinois to offer stereotactic radiation in 1991. It is also the first and sole facility to offer treatments with Gamma Knife Radiosurgery starting in 2001 and Linear Accelerator-based Radiosurgery using High-Definition Multi-Leaf Collimators since 2013.
Stereotactic Brain Radiation Therapies are planned with the input of neurosurgeons of Illinois Neurological Institute to help guarantee the best and safest treatments for our patients