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When you come to the Cancer Institute for radiation therapy, you can feel confident you are receiving the highest level of care. We have maintained accreditation by the American College of Radiology® (ACR) and American Society of Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) for several years running. The ACR-ASTRO seal of accreditation means we maintain the highest standards for safe, effective radiation therapy.
Radiation oncology at Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute
You receive care from doctors (radiation oncologists) who specialize in using radiation therapy to treat cancer. Many of our radiation oncology experts completed training in the nation’s top medical education programs. All our radiation oncologists are board-certified, meaning they passed a rigorous exam after completing medical school.
Other highlights of radiation therapy at the Cancer Institute include:
We use radiation therapy technologies that allow us to accurately pinpoint the cancer while avoiding nearby healthy tissue. Technologies such as the Varian Edge® radiosurgery system used for stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) make it possible to complete treatment in fewer, shorter sessions – so you can recover faster.
SIR-Spheres® Y-90 resin microspheres are a medical device used in Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT) for liver tumors. SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres are a permanent implant and for single use only. The biocompatible resin microspheres containing yttrium-90 have a median diameter of 32.5 microns (range between 20 and 60 microns).
TheraSphere® is a liver cancer therapy that consists of millions of small glass microspheres (20 to 30 micrometers in diameter) containing radioactive Y90. The product is injected by a physician into the artery of the patients liver through a catheter, which allows the treatment to be delivered directly to the tumor via the blood flow. Its official indication is for liver tumors that are metastatic from colon cancer.
When new radiation therapy technologies become available, you’ll often find them at Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute.
Gamma Knife: We were the first cancer center in the region offering Gamma Knife® Icon™ stereotactic radiation for brain tumors in hard-to-reach areas. Learn more about radiation therapy treatment options at Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute.
3D-printed boluses: We’re one of a few locations in the U.S., and the only in this region, using groundbreaking 3D printer technology to create customized boluses for radiation oncology patients. A bolus is used to help direct radiation to the skin’s surface and to the appropriate depth. This helps ensure the right dose is targeted to the right area and protects healthy tissue from radiation. Using a 3D printer and FDA-approved software, a bolus can be made to the exact shape needed, such as around a patient’s ear, nose or other location on the body.
For cancer of the left breast, we have the ability to use the prone (face-down) technique when appropriate to protect healthy tissues from the path of the radiation beam. This position allows the breast to hang away from the body. In doing so, the treatment field is away from other healthy tissue.
Quality of life
We help you avoid complications that could affect your daily life. For example, we use SpaceOAR® hydrogel to protect a man’s rectum during prostate cancer treatment. SpaceOAR preserves the ability to have normal bowel movements after completing radiation therapy.
Radiation therapy: What to expect
Radiation therapy uses beams of energy and other substances to break up cancer cells. Our radiation oncology team, which also includes nurses and other specialists, guides you through every step of treatment.
Here’s what to expect:
- First appointment (consultation): You meet with one of our radiation oncologists where we discuss how radiation therapy can help you and which options are best for your needs.
- Treatment planning: Before starting treatment, you undergo imaging tests to pinpoint the precise location of the tumor. We also perform a practice session to make sure the radiation beams align with the location of the cancer during treatment.
- Treatment: How often you need treatment and how long radiation therapy sessions last depend on the type of radiation therapy you are receiving. We let you know what to expect and answer any questions you may have.
- Follow-up care: We continue seeing you throughout your cancer care journey as needed. Your care may include periodic imaging tests to make sure radiation therapy is working as it should.