Radiation oncologists, gynecological surgeons and medical oncologists work together to provide patients with the most comprehensive multidisciplinary management of gynecological cancer available. The most current and effective treatment approaches are provided in ultramodern settings where patient privacy and comfort are foremost.
There are two main types of radiation treatments, external and internal, that can be used based on the needs of the patient. External beam radiation is delivered using a linear accelerator that produces high energy x-rays. Internal radiation or brachytherapy uses radioactive seeds that are temporarily or permanently placed in the area that requires treatment. Based on their unique condition, patients may benefit from either external radiation or brachytherapy—or a combination of both.
External Beam Radiotherapy
External beam radiation therapy involves a series of daily outpatient treatments to accurately deliver radiation to the cancer. Each treatment is painless and is similar to getting an x-ray. They are often given in a series of daily sessions, each taking less than half an hour, Monday through Friday, for five to six weeks.
Radiotherapy treatment methods have advanced dramatically in recent years. These advances allow us to more accurately target the cancer with higher doses of radiation, while minimizing damage to nearby healthy tissue. NYP utilizes the following state-of-the-art treatment techniques during our external beam treatments when required by the individual needs of each patient.
3-Dimensional Conformal Radiotherapy (3D-CRT)
3D-CRT combines multiple radiation treatment fields to deliver precise doses of radiation to the affected area. Tailoring each of the radiation beams to focus on the tumor delivers a high dose of radiation to the tumor and minimizes the exposure of nearby healthy tissue.
Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
IMRT is a recent advance in the delivery of radiation and is used according to the individual needs of the patient. During IMRT treatments the intensity of the radiation within each of the radiation beams is varied or modulated. This allows precise adjustment of the radiation doses to the cancerous tissue within the target area. It also allows precise dose shaping to minimize the dose to normal tissue.
Brachytherapy (also called internal or intracavitary radiotherapy) involves placing radioactive sources in or next to the cancer. This is sometimes done in conjunction with external beam radiation therapy. Brachytherapy is very important in the treatment of vaginal, cervical, vulva and uterine cancers.
High-Dose-Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy
HDR brachytherapy is performed in our state-of-the-art brachytherapy suites and uses a highly radioactive source that is temporarily placed in the target area. It is left in place while it quickly delivers a high dose over the course of 10 to 15 minutes, and then removed. Several treatments are given over a period of days. This specialized type of brachytherapy concentrates the radiation in the diseased tissue and minimizes the exposure of healthy tissue.
Columbia University Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
Weill Cornell Medicine Meyer Cancer Center in Partnership with NewYork-Presbyterian
A Guide to Radiation Oncology Services at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia
Integrative Health and Wellbeing Program