Tumors are made up of cells that are reproducing at abnormally high rates. Radiation therapy specifically acts against cells that are reproducing rapidly. Normal cells are programmed to stop reproducing (or dividing) when they come into contact with other cells. In the case of a tumor, this stop mechanism is missing, causing cells to continue to divide over and over. It is the DNA of the cell that makes it capable of reproducing. Radiation therapy uses high energy x-rays to damage the DNA of cells, thereby killing the cancer cells, or at least stopping them from reproducing.
Radiation therapy is considered to be a "local" therapy, meaning it treats a specific localized area of the body. There are two main types of radiation therapy: external radiation therapy, where a beam of radiation is directed from outside the body, and internal radiation therapy where a source of radioactivity is placed inside the body near the tumor. At McLaren, we utilize the advanced features that refine treatment, allowing dosage to be targeted with the highest degree of precision available.
Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) are radiation machines with imaging scanners built into them. This allows the doctor to take pictures of the area and make minor adjustments in aiming just before giving the radiation.
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) delivers radiation via small beamlets varying in intensity and computed by an advanced inverse planning system which minimizes damage to healthy tissue.
Radiation Oncology Services Available at McLaren Cancer Institute:
TrueBeam is a real-time imaging and treatment system, TrueBeam incorporates numerous technical innovations that synchronize imaging, patient positioning, motion management, and treatment delivery during radiotherapy or radiosurgery.
TomoTherapy is an external radiation delivery system that delivers a IMRT with integrated treatment planning, and delivery and dose verification via CT scanning.
Brachytherapy, also known as internal radiation, involves placing radioactive materials into a tumor or its surrounding tissue.
HDR for Skin Cancer, administers a high dose of radiation to the affected area at a more shallow depth using a specially designed applicator.
Radioimmunotherapy is a form of targeted therapy where radiolabels antibodies are injected into the body and circulate in the bloodstream until they locate and bind to the surface of cancer cells. The cancer cells are then destroyed by the radiation carried in the antibody.
McLaren Cancer Institute also offers radiation oncology treatment at the McLaren Cancer Institute facilities in Owosso and Lapeer.