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Advanced Technology for Radiation Oncology

Cancer Center

BID Plymouth Cancer Services
275 Sandwich Street
Plymouth, MA 02360

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Advanced Radiation Therapies

Our Center offers two new cutting edge medical systems designed to target and treat tumors with greater precision than ever before while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible. We offer the following advanced therapies combined with dedicated professionals who provide expert personalized care, treating patients with respect and compassion every step of the way.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) and Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)

SRS and SBRT are noninvasive methods of treating tumors in the brain (SRS) and throughout the body (SBRT) with very precise, high-dose radiation beams delivered in one to five outpatient procedures.

SRS and SBRT involve a multidisciplinary team approach to patient care in which specialists from varied backgrounds collaborate to develop a customized treatment plan for each patient’s specific case. Team members typically include a surgeon, radiation oncologist, medical oncologist, medical physicist, nurse, and radiation therapist.

During treatment, patients lie comfortably while our advanced cancer treatment system targets their tumor and delivers numerous high-dose radiation beams directly to the tumor while sparing surrounding healthy tissue. SRS and SBRT do not require surgery or sedation, and patients typically experience minimal side effects due to the highly focused nature of treatment, which minimizes radiation exposure to normal tissue and organs.

Areas treated with SRS and SBRT:

  • Brain
  • Lung
  • Liver
  • Adrenal gland
  • Spine

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

IMRT is a type of radiation treatment whereby the radiation beam is carefully sculpted around a patient's anatomy. Compared to conventional radiation therapy, IMRT provides more precise targeting of the tumor and greater sparing of surrounding normal organs. As a result, it allows for a safe increase in the radiation dose to the tumor, and at the same time, reduces side effects.

Physicians and physicists work together to create an IMRT plan. They create an extensive list of treatment objectives, and then work with a very advanced computer system to design hundreds of tiny radiation beams. Together these beams produce a high-precision radiation dose pattern in the patient. The treatment itself is carried out with the use of a "multi-leaf collimator" which has many small motorized rods of tungsten that do not allow radiation to penetrate through. These tungsten rods are programmed to move in and out of the radiation beam to deliver strategically shaped beams of radiation that conform to the tumor.

IMRT is particularly well suited for select patients with prostate cancer, head and neck cancer, and certain types of brain tumors, for example. Our physicians will guide you as to whether IMRT is the appropriate treatment for you.

Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)

IGRT is a technique used to track the internal movement of a patient's anatomy by imaging the patient each day during treatment and making fine positioning adjustments.

When a patient comes in for radiation treatment, the part of the body being treated is carefully lined up to the radiation beam. This is usually accomplished with lasers and markings on the outside of the body. In some instances, there can be a considerable amount of organ movement inside the patient's body and this can be corrected by the use of Image Guided Radiation Therapy.

In some cases, tiny radio-opaque markers are placed in the patient's body, and their location is used to align the patient for treatment. By following the daily movement of these markers and adjusting the radiation beam accordingly, treatment accuracy and precision are enhanced.

3D Conformal Therapy

Before a patient's therapy can begin, a team of radiation physicists works with the physicians to develop a treatment plan. This plan is a complex set of instructions which is given to the linear accelerator (the radiation producing machine). It is designed to direct radiation to the cancerous cells while simultaneously protecting healthy tissues and organs.

The treatment plans are developed using a 3-dimensional conformal technique. Using a CT scan which allows 3-D visualization of the tumor and surrounding normal tissues, as well as a very sophisticated computer system, the physicians and physicists customize the shape of the radiation beams to the tumor's specific size and shape. This plan is then carried out with great precision each day of the patient's treatment.