ViewRay MRIdian® Linac Radiation Therapy vs ViewRay MRIdian® MRI-guided radiation therapy
At the Lynn Cancer Institute, we offer some of the most advanced radiation treatments available, including ViewRay MRIdian® MRI-guided radiation therapy. Only a select number of cancer centers in the U.S. have this sophisticated radiation therapy system.
Radiation therapy is used to treat cancer, either alone or with another cancer treatment. As a member of your multimodality cancer treatment team, our radiation oncologists know the treatments you’ve received – surgery, chemotherapy, etc. – and the outcome of each treatment.
Our radiation oncology team knows each patient and each cancer is unique. That’s why the whole radiation therapy team comes together to design your treatment plan.
Before you start radiation therapy, you will meet with the radiation oncologist, who will review your cancer treatment plan and the results of any treatments you’ve already completed. Depending on the type and location of the cancer, your physician will determine the best approach – internal or external – and modality (machine or equipment) to use for your radiation treatment.
Once the approach to your radiation treatment is determined, you will come in for treatment simulation. This is a treatment planning CT scan for your radiation therapy and helps your team know exactly where to send the radiation. Your treatment plan is designed after simulation and includes the amount of radiation and beam targeting used for each treatment and the number of treatments you will need.
More than half of people with cancer are treated with some form of radiation therapy. Hundreds of thousands of these patients are cancer survivors, whether they received radiation therapy alone or in conjunction with other cancer therapy. Radiation therapy is sometimes combined with chemotherapy, which is a systemic treatment that reaches all parts of the body through the bloodstream. Radiation therapy is sometimes combined with surgery. Radiation can improve the outcomes of chemotherapy by providing another means of reducing tumor size. Chemotherapy can improve the outcome of radiation by sensitizing cancer cells to radiation effects.
Radiation is sometimes used after surgery to prevent any remaining cancer cells from growing. It can stop the cancer from returning, or spreading to other parts of the body. Regrettably, cancer cannot always be stopped from spreading. Radiation therapy can improve the quality of life for terminally ill patients, by reducing their pain, the size of the tumor and cancer symptoms.
The side effects of radiation therapy vary from one person to another. Most side effects of radiation therapy are limited to the area of your body being treated. They can also depend on your age, general health and whether you have had other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or surgery. Your radiation oncologist will talk with you about any potential side effects of your specific treatment before treatment begins.
You cannot feel the radiation while it is being given. Sometimes the skin becomes tender where it is irradiated.
Radiation only causes hair loss where the beam enters and exits the body. It is unlike some chemotherapy agents that cause all body hair to fall out.
If you are receiving external beam radiation, you should be prepared for 30 minutes from the time you arrive in the department to the time you leave. The radiation treatment time may only take a few minutes. The additional time is spent preparing for your treatment. Some types of radiation treatment such as Brachytherapy, SRS and SBRT will require longer times in the department. Your clinicians will inform you of the approximate times that you should expect.
The number of treatments will be determined by the radiation oncologist.
If you drove to the radiation treatment, you will be able to drive home.
External radiation does not make you radioactive.
Learn more about cancer care at Lynn Cancer Institute.
Our radiation oncologists work with your cancer treatment team to determine the best approach and develop a schedule for your treatments.
Meet the Team
The radiation oncology team works together to ensure you have the highest quality of care and all the support you need during your radiation therapy treatment schedule. Your team includes:
- Radiation oncologist – a physician specially trained to treat cancer with radiation and oversee your care
- Radiation therapist – a therapist trained and licensed to deliver radiation therapy under the supervision of your radiation oncologist
- Radiation oncology nurse - a registered nurse trained in oncology who will coordinate your care during your radiation treatment
- Medical physicists – a physicist with advanced training and certification who helps design your treatment plan and monitors the radiation treatment machines for accuracy and to ensure they are working properly
- Dosimetrist – a medical professional with knowledge in radiology, physics, and anatomy and physiology, who make sure the right amount of radiation is delivered during your radiation treatment
You will also have the help and support of your social worker, nutritionist and every member of the radiation oncology team.
At Lynn Cancer Institute, we treat cancer in today’s patients and offer hope for those who may get the disease in the future. Through clinical trials, we study promising new ways to diagnose and treat cancer. As our patient, you have access to these trials and treatments that aren’t widely available elsewhere. If a clinical trial may be right for you, we’ll talk with you about the potential benefits and risks. We make your overall well-being and safety our top priority if you choose to participate.