External beam radiation therapy
The radiation oncology program at the Weill Cornell Medicine Meyer Cancer Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital features the latest approaches to delivering external-beam radiation treatments, including:
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), using radiation beams of specific intensities directed from a variety of angles to kill cancerous tissue.
- Volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT), the most sophisticated form of IMRT, allows each radiation treatment to be delivered in a fraction of the time.
- Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) accounts for changes in tumor size during the course of therapy as well as patient movement, ensuring that the radiation you receive at each visit hits only the tumor as much as possible.
- Stereotactic radiation therapy uses a single high dose of radiation directed with pinpoint precision to the brain (stereotactic radiosurgery) or to the lungs, liver, pancreas, or spine (stereotactic body radiotherapy) to destroy small inoperable tumors.
- Prone radiation therapy for breast cancer is given with the patient lying face down while the breast to be treated hangs through an opening in the table. Nearby organs, such as the heart and lungs, are spared from radiation damage.
- Hypofractionated (short course) radiation therapy uses higher doses of radiation delivered over a shorter time period (about three weeks versus five to six weeks, for example) and is an option for many patients with breast cancer.
Internal radiation therapy
Internal radiation therapy treats cancer from within the body. The approaches available at our Meyer Cancer Center include:
- Brachytherapy. The implantation of permanent or temporary radiation-containing sources in or near tumor tissue to kill cancer cells on contact. There are two main forms of brachytherapy. With intracavitary treatment, the radioactive sources are placed into a space near the area to be treated, such as the cervix, vagina, or windpipe. With interstitial treatment, the radioactive sources are placed directly into the tissues, such as tiny seeds placed into the prostate gland.
- Radiopharmaceuticals. The use of a medication attached to a radioactive element that is ferried directly to cancer cells inside the body, where the radiation is released, through infusion (treatment delivered into a vein). This treatment is used for some people with prostate cancer and lymphoma.
- Partial breast radiation therapy. For certain women with breast cancer, our advanced treatment techniques allow targeting of a small area of breast tissue rather than the conventional method of treating the entire breast. This approach reduces side effects and helps protect other vital organs, such as the heart and lungs, from exposure to radiation.