Radiation therapy (also referred to as radiotherapy) is a cancer treatment used to destroy and/or shrink cancer.
Radiation therapy can be used:
- Alone to destroy tumors
- Before surgery to shrink a tumor enough so it can be removed
- After surgery as adjuvant treatment (treatment used in addition to the primary treatment to maximize its effectiveness)
- As palliative therapy to relieve symptoms caused by the cancer
- In conjunction with chemotherapy to best manage the tumor
Types of Radiation Therapy
The type of radiation therapy you receive will depend on a variety of factors, including the size, location and stage of your tumor. There are two main types of radiation therapy, external beam and internal radiation.
External Beam Radiation at Valley
With external beam radiation, the source of the radiation is outside of your body. External beam radiation is most commonly delivered via a linear accelerator.
We offer the following types of external beam radiation therapy at Valley:
Valley offers the Gamma Knife Icon for stereotactic radiosurgery. Stereotactic radiosurgery is a nonsurgical radiation treatment that delivers a high dose of concentrated, targeted radiation to the brain. For more information, visit our Gamma Knife Center.
Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT)
Valley offers the TrueBeam linear accelerator-based SBRT. Stereotactic body radiotherapy is a targeted, nonsurgical radiation treatment for tumors in the body. Visit stereotactic radiosurgery for more information about SBRT’s uses at Valley.
Internal Radiation at Valley
With internal radiation therapy, the radiation source is placed inside your body. We offer the following types of internal radiation:
At Valley, we offer high-dose rate brachytherapy, or HDR brachytherapy. This type of brachytherapy uses a high-dose rate afterloader to temporarily deliver high doses of radiation to small, clearly defined sites. Because of the strength and control of the high-dose rate source (the afterloader device), patients only need a few outpatient treatments.
IORT, or Intraoperative Radiation Therapy
IORT delivers a one-time, concentrated dose of radiation during lumpectomy for breast cancer. IORT delivers the radiation directly to the site where the cancer was removed. For more information, see IORT.
Cancer treated: Breast cancer
Radiation Therapy Treatment at Valley
CT simulation and 3D treatment planning systems are the standard of care at Valley to plan each individual patient’s radiation therapy regimen:
- CT simulation is the process for identifying the location, size and shape of your tumor.
- At Valley, all our CT scanners are calibrated and monitored to ensure optimal scan data with minimal exposure to the patient. That means patients receive as little radiation as possible.
- Your CT scan data is used to plan all radiation treatments. Our system creates a 3D “virtual patient” from CT images.
- Our radiation oncologists can see all of the tissue, bone and air cavities that fall in the path of the radiation beam; they then analyze them to determine how much radiation will be delivered to each area.
- The system allows our radiation oncologists to more precisely target the tumor with the appropriate maximum dose while providing minimal radiation to normal structures.
- Deep inspiration breath hold (DIBH): minimizes radiation exposure to the heart in breast cancer in the left breast; patients take a deep breath and hold it during radiation.
- Prone breast radiation: for women with larger breasts, the patient lies on her stomach during breast cancer radiation to minimize exposure to the heart and lungs and reduce skin reaction.
- Fiducial/SpaceOAR: for SBRT in prostate cancer patients.
- 4D treatment planning.
Why Choose Valley for Radiation Therapy?
- Innovative expertise: Valley’s radiation oncology program has a long track record of innovation.
- Valley was the first institution on the East Coast (and second in the nation) to perform brachytherapy for prostate cancer.
- Valley was the first in New Jersey to treat patients using intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).
- Valley was the first institution in northern New Jersey to offer Gamma Knife radiosurgery technology.
- Accredited radiation care: Valley’s radiation oncology program is the first facility or medical practice in northern New Jersey to be awarded accreditation from the American College of Radiology (ACR). We are the first in New Jersey to receive four-year accreditation from the American Society for Radiation Oncology's (ASTRO) Accreditation Program for Excellence (APEx®).
- Focus on patient safety: Our goal with each radiation treatment is to safely deliver the maximum dose possible to your cancer and the minimum amount to normal tissues. That’s why we use techniques like deep-inspiration breath hold, invest in the most advanced technologies like Gamma Knife and use 3D and 4D simulation planning.