Radiation Oncology Centers — What to Look For, What to Expect
Everyone in our team at the Pasadena CyberKnife radiation oncology center understands that a diagnosis of cancer can be a heartrending one for a patient, their family, friends and everyone close to them. We also understand the generally held perceptions about treatments for cancer as being invasive, toxic and debilitating. For these reasons the kind of radiation oncology treatment that we offer is non -invasive and backed up clinically with a history of successful outcomes , causing little distress and discomfort to our patients.
Our center for radiation oncology in Los Angeles offers conventional radiation therapy systems such as intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), image guided radiation therapy (IGRT), Rapid-Arc treatments as well as HDR-LDR Brachytherapy, and more recently, CyberKnife robotic radiosurgery treatments. Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) or Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) is the most advanced form of radiation treatment available. Our radiation oncology team in Los Angeles, headed by Dr. Albert Mak, explains treatment options and modalities to the patient based on a detailed case study to recommend the most effective course of treatment for each individual.
What Is Radiation Oncology — An Overview
Our radiation oncologists treat a range of cancerous and non-cancerous tumors anywhere in the body, including
- Brain cancers
- Spine tumors
- Prostate and Pelvic cancer’s
- Lung cancer
- Breast Cancers
- Cancers of the head and neck
- Pancreatic cancer
- Liver cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs)
The best type of oncology radiation treatment will be recommended by the team at our center after consultations and a detailed analysis of medical factors, health considerations, and patient histories. Our team will consider the whole range of treatment options including IMRT, IGRT, 3D conformal, VMAT, HDR and LDR Brachytherapy and how to incorporate CyberKnife technology before deciding on the optimal treatment. CyberKnife treats with the most advanced form of Radiation Therapy called Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) (1 treatment), or Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) 2-5 treatments.
Consultation With a Radiation Oncologist
What is a radiation oncologist? These are cancer specialists who use specialized radiation treatments to treat tumors and cancerous conditions. A radiological oncologist offers primary treatment for cancers and also an alternative to patients that are unwilling to undergo surgery. In some cases radiation could be the only option if the cancer site is considered inoperable. Before a consultation with an oncology radiation physician you may be asked to fill in certain patient forms that will need you to fill in your personal details, physician details, history of past surgeries, illness or conditions, medications, allergies, social factors and symptoms in detail. Our physicians, radiotherapy and oncology specialists will work together, often in conjunction with a surgeon, to formulate a treatment plan that will best target the tumor, without damaging the healthy surrounding tissue.
CyberKnife Is the Evolution of Radiation Oncology
CyberKnife is a maturation of standard radiation therapies and is able to offer treatments even for recurrent tumors, at sites that have undergone radiation previously. While this is uncommon, these are sites which may not tolerate re-irradiation when conventional treatments are used; however with CyberKnife’s pinpoint accuracy, this is a possibility. CyberKnife is a primary treatment for tumors throughout the body. CyberKnife is also an alternative to surgery, used for inoperable tumors, or can be combined with other treatments such as surgery, (pre and post), chemotherapy, etc.
A high resolution CT, PET, or MRI scan will examine the tumor in detail, to determine the size, shape, and exact location. Our Radiation Oncology physicians will then create a customized treatment plan specific to your cancer or tumor.
CyberKnife has improved and augmented traditional radiation oncology treatments is that radiation can be delivered with sub-millimeter pinpoint accuracy. The imaging is digitally transferred to the CyberKnife System’s workstation, where the treatment planning begins. The type and complexity of scans and tests required will vary as per the type of cancer, the location of the tumor, its size, and spread.
CyberKnife was developed with a combination of advanced image guidance and intelligent tumor tracking. CyberKnife has overcome the obstacles of all other radiation treatment technologies.
Some unique features of CyberKnife:
- CyberKnife utilizes a combination of tumor tracking software with advanced real-time imaging and a robotic design.
- CyberKnife is the only technology that can track and adapt to real time movement (such as patient breathing or other normal movement) and correct for any sudden movements throughout treatment to maintain sub-millimeter accuracy.
- CyberKnife has done away with the need for painful head frames that are bolted into the skull, or any kind of body frames or breath holds to keep a patient still.
- CyberKnife’s unique robotic design can approach a tumor from virtually any angle.
- CyberKnife technology provides you with the assurance that we are treating the tumor and sparing the healthy tissue or surrounding organs and critical structures.
- With very high ablative doses, Cyberknife destroys the tumor in one to five short treatments.
- Patients can continue on with their normal, daily life, even on days of treatments with only minimal side effects, like slight fatigue.
What to Expect From Our Radiation Oncology Treatments
With CyberKnife, our radiation oncology doctors are able to deliver beams of high-dose radiation from a wide variety of angles using a robotic arm with extreme accuracy to any part of the body including difficult to reach tumors. Tumors of the pancreas and the brain, spine tumors wrapped around the spinal cord or lung tumors situated close to the heart or the spine; even prostate tumors located too close to the bowel or abdomen may be difficult, if not impossible, to operate upon. In such cases CyberKnife’s targeted precision can prove invaluable.
The CyberKnife Robotic Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) System used by our oncologist in the Los Angeles treatment center is revolutionary in that it is not only highly targeted and effective but also a non-invasive treatment that is delivered over just two to five days. Stereotactic Radiosurgery treatment uses just 1 large accurate dose to ablate tumors in a single session. Though the word ‘knife’ features in the terminology, there is actually no surgery or cutting (it is an incision-less procedure) or even needles required to be used here. This is an outpatient procedure that requires neither anesthesia nor any overnight hospital stay. Whereas conventional or standard radiation therapy (IMRT, IGRT, 3D conformal) typically could require 25 to 45 sessions of radiation, delivered over six to eight weeks, the CyberKnife procedures need only one to five short sessions of therapy, completed within a week.
What Patients Say About Our Radiation Oncology Center
Our patient stories say more than we ever could about the safety and efficacy of our treatments:
- Warren’s cancer chronicle and his victorious battle against prostate cancer
- Kay’s lung cancer journey
- Peter’s experiences with the CyberKnife treatment protocol
- Suzanne’s brain tumor battle
- Joan’s lung cancer story
Read these and other heartening stories about our patients successfully battling their cancers.
Get In Touch With Our Radiation Oncology Centers
Our radiation oncology Los Angeles treatment center would like to be a part of your team; the team of people who care, your well-wishers who are rooting for you; the team that will ultimately help you beat and survive your cancer, emerging healthy and whole.
Contact us via phone at 626.768.1021 for a consultation, visit us at Pasadena CyberKinfe Center, 630 S. Raymond Ave., Suite 104, Pasadena, CA 91105, or drop us a line via email at [email protected] Our friendly staff is standing by to offer you the information you need and the reassurance you require to take that first all-important step in your treatment.