Radiation therapy is a common treatment for cancer. It uses high-energy waves to destroy or damage cancer cells. Radiation may be given as part of a treatment plan that also includes chemotherapy, surgery, immunotherapy or targeted therapy.
There are two main types of radiation:
- External beam radiation – Radiation is delivered from a machine outside the body to a targeted area of the body.
- Internal radiation – Also called brachytherapy, radioactive materials are placed inside the body on or next to cancer cells.
A radiation oncologist will oversee your radiation treatment. This doctor works closely with others on your team to create a plan that’s tailored to your care needs.
Radiation oncology services and treatments
Advances in radiation treatments allow doctors to deliver precise, targeted radiation doses right to the tumor or cancer cells. This technology causes less damage to healthy tissue and enhances outcomes.
What to expect
Your radiation oncologist will help prepare you for radiation therapy. They will let you know what to expect and closely watch your progress. Your doctor will also let you know if any changes are needed throughout your treatment. Radiation therapy can last a few minutes or as long as several weeks. Radiation is painless, but you may feel discomfort during sessions if you need to stay in a certain position very long. Your care team will help you manage any side effects — such as a rash, numbness or lymphedema (swelling caused by lymph fluid buildup).
Radiation oncology at PeaceHealth
The radiation oncology team at PeaceHealth advances the standard of cancer care in our community. We take care of the details, so you can focus on getting healthy and what matters most to you.
Advanced technology for precise care
Access to the latest technology for radiation therapy — RapidArc, TrueBeam, CyberKnife, Gamma Knife and many others. These advances deliver targeted cancer treatments that enhance outcomes and generally lead to fewer complications.
Collaborating for you
No two cancers or patients are alike. That’s why we put you at the center of the treatment plan. We consider your needs, goals, unique diagnosis, and medical and family history. Your care team is committed to giving you the power to heal and feel supported throughout your care.
Coordinated are at every turn
Your medical oncologist will work closely with you and other members of your care team to manage your care. This coordinated, seamless approach helps make sure you get the care you need all through your healing journey.
Advancing cancer care
At PeaceHealth, we are committed to advancing the standard of cancer care. We offer the latest medicines, therapies and approaches for diagnosing, treating and managing cancer.
- 3D conformal radiotherapy
In 3D conformal radiotherapy, radiation beams are sculpted to the shape of a tumor. Doctors use three-dimensional images to plan precise treatments and deliver radiation from several angles. This helps protect healthy tissue and organs. 3D conformal radiotherapy is often used on cancers with an unusual shape or cancers found near healthy body parts, tissues or organs.
Brachytherapy is a type of internal radiation that places radioactive materials on or next to cancer cells. This radiation therapy allows doctors to deliver high doses of radiation to cancer or tumors. There are several types of brachytherapy:
- High-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy – During each session of this outpatient procedure, radioactive materials are placed inside the body for up to 20 minutes. Patients may need one or two sessions a day over several days or weeks.
- Low-dose-rate (LDR) brachytherapy – Radioactive materials are placed in the body and stay there for a few hours or several days. Patients stay in the hospital for this procedure.
- Seed therapy – Seed therapy can be high-dose or low-dose. Seeds (small radioactive materials) are placed on or next to cancer cells. This is often used to treat prostate cancer.
- Image guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
High-quality images are taken before each radiation session. Then the images are used to narrowly focus radiation beams right on the cancer cells. IGRT is used to treat all types of cancer. It’s viewed as the standard of care for radiation.
- Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
This advanced radiation therapy can treat cancer or noncancerous tumors. Similar to 3D conformal radiotherapy, high-intensity beams are shaped to the tumor. In IMRT, several beams are used, which allows doctors to adjust how strong the radiation is when it’s targeted at the tumor. This precision helps protect healthy tissues and limits the side effects of treatment.
- Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT)
IORT is intense radiation therapy that’s used during surgery. This approach allows the surgeon to target high-dose radiation on the cancer cells or a tumor. IORT is most often used for cancers that are hard to remove. Your doctor may also recommend IORT if cancer cells might still be in the body after surgery.
- Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy may help stop or slow cancer cell growth using high-energy beams. Often used along with other treatments, radiation therapy for breast cancer can include external beam radiation (outside the body) and internal beam radiation (inside the body, called brachytherapy). We offer advanced radiation that conforms to and targets your tumor, even if it moves. This can result in safer, more precise treatments. These include 3D conformal radiation and intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).
- Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS)
This nonsurgical radiation therapy is most often used for brain, neck and spinal cord tumors and cancers. SRS uses 3D imaging to map radiation beams to target tumors and cancerous cells. This helps lower the risk of damaging nearby healthy tissue. SRS can also be used on other parts of the body; the name for that is stereotactic body radiotherapy (SRBT).
All Radiation Oncology Locations
Springfield, OR 97477
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284
Ketchikan, AK 99901
Vancouver, WA 98664
(Entrance to Cancer Center is located at the intersection of 17th and Kessler Blvd.)
Longview, WA 98632
Vancouver, WA 98664
Vancouver, WA 98664
Bellingham, WA 98225