The Nebraska Medical Center offers radiation therapy as a highly effective and targeted cancer therapy used in 70 percent of all cancer patients. Revolutionary advances in Radiation Oncology have been made over the past 10-15 years. More precise and targeted therapy delivery and improvements in imaging help physicians spare normal tissues to a greater degree than in past years. Radiation therapy is often used in conjunction with other treatment modalities, such as surgery or chemotherapy, or can be used as the sole treatment modality.
The new linear accelerator is a state-of-the-art machine that has the ability to perform highly complex Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy and Image Guided Radiation Therapy treatments. The machine works with computer technology to assist in targeted and advanced forms of radiation therapy.
The Calypso® 4D Localization System pinpoints the location of prostate cancers as accurately as a Global Positioning System (GPS) can locate your car. The Calypso system follows prostate movement in real time. This allows for correction of prostate motion as the radiation treatment is being delivered. The Nebraska Medical Center is the only center in the region using the Calypso® technology.
Respiratory gating is the latest advancement in radiation oncology to permit a reduction in the amount of normal tissue treated. Using a multi-slice, four-dimensional computerized tomography (CT) scanner (the fourth dimension is time) and computers capable of storing and manipulating over 1,500 CT images. Physicians are able to measure a patient's range of motion during respiration and plan a tailored treatment specific to their inhale and exhale cycles. During the actual respiratory gated treatment, the radiation beam is continuously turned on and off to synchronize delivery of the radiation during the optimal point of the patient's respiration cycle. Patients with breast, lung, liver, pancreas and possibly kidney cancer can be evaluated to see if respiratory gating can be used.
Intrabeam is a low-energy radiation therapy, which offers two advantages to traditional radiation therapy. First, it provides a targeted dose of radiation therapy to the surgical site at the time of surgery, rather than delivering total breast radiation. Secondly, it may eliminate the six-week daily regimen of radiation therapy that normally accompanies lumpectomy without compromising the outcome. MammoSite® 5 day targeted radiation therapy is a direct radiation treatment option for some early-stage breast cancer patients. After removing a breast cancer tumor, a balloon catheter is placed inside the breast. Targeted radiation therapy is delivered directly to the area where cancer is most likely to recur, allowing a full course of radiation to be delivered in just five days.
IGRT is the use of treatment room imaging modalities (i.e. X-ray, ultrasound and CT scans) to precisely target a tumor for daily radiation treatment. Using image guidance for tumors affected by organ motion and day-to-day set up changes can lead to increased tumor response and/or decreased side effects from treatment. Utilizing the new CT on rails system, physicians are able to accurately target the treatment area by combining radiation machine and images of the patient’s anatomy taken by a CT scanner.
IMRT is another treatment technique used to deliver highly accurate doses of radiation to irregularly shaped tumors with fewer adverse side effects. Pencil-thin beams of varied intensity conforms the radiation to the shape of the tumor, allowing physicians to attack the cancer with higher doses of radiation while minimizing damage to nearby healthy tissue and organs. The Nebraska Medical Center is the first and most experienced IMRT facility in the region.
Brachytherapy is a form of radiation that involves the placement of radioactive sources into a tumor or in an area where a tumor was removed. This technique allows for the delivery of high doses of radiation therapy while simultaneously sparing normal tissue. Brachytherapy is often used to treat prostate, gynecologic and breast malignancies. The high dose rate unit at the Nebraska Medical Center allows for some brachytherapy procedures to be performed in the outpatient setting, increasing patient convenience, especially for patients from outside the Omaha area.
Novalis® is an innovative technology that offers patients more precise stereotactic radiosurgery and radiotherapy treatment. It shapes radiation beams to match the exact contour of a tumor or lesion, so even those that are irregularly shaped receive direct radiation treatment without damage to adjacent tissues and organs. Read more about Novalis® Shaped Beam Surgery.
Advancing research in Radiation Oncology is a primary goal of the department at the Nebraska Medical Center. The department has participated in the FDA approval study for the Calypso system, refined techniques for use of radioimmuno-conjugates for therapeutic purposes, designed new software applications for accurate radiation dosing, and enhancing clinical strategies in the delivery of radiation that limits side effects. The department has also participated and developed institutional protocols and will be joining the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG), allowing patients to participate in the latest clinical trials for radiotherapy. These types of research collaborations make it possible for The Nebraska Medical Center to lead the fight against cancer.
The Nebraska Medical Center is proud to be home to the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) Eppley Cancer Center. The center is a National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated cancer center established in 1983 and is one of 65 NCI-designated cancer centers in the country. The Eppley Cancer Center has extensive clinical research protocols and is committed to making new treatments available to cancer patients in our region.
Make an appointment with a radiation oncology specialist by calling 800-922-0000. For clinic location and hours use the Find a Physician link.
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