Treatment and Technology
Comprehensive Access to Quality Cancer Service
At the Watson Clinic Cancer & Research Center, each patient is special. We tailor each treatment regimen to the individual. Using state-of-the-art equipment and technology, the Center provides a comprehensive array of treatment options: Chemotherapy, Clinical Trials, CT Simulation, PET/CT Scan, Dietary Services, Radiation Therapy, IMRT, Mammosite Therapy, Ultrasound Localization, Medical Oncology, Patient Education Library, Social Services, New Treatment Options and High-Tech Advances. Our cancer specialists utilize the most technologically advanced methods to treat cancer. With some of the latest radiation therapy alternatives, progressive surgical interventions and state-of-the-art equipment, we can offer one of the most important therapies of all — hope. Some of the treatment options at the Center include:
3-D Conformal Therapy. Three-dimensional conformal therapy is one of several radiation therapies that are offered at the Cancer & Research Center. This therapy utilizes the information processed from CT simulation to plan multiple radiation therapy treatment beams that will encompass the cancerous areas while sparing adjacent normal tissues. Utilizing three-dimensional conformal treatment helps to improve cure rate while reducing side effects.
CT Simulation/Diagnostic. Computerized axial tomography simulation consists of an acquisition of multiple images through a particular area of interest for the purpose of outlining and mapping the extent of cancer. This cancerous outline or volume is then reconstructed by three-dimensional formatting through highly sophisticated computerized planning software to plan a course of radiation therapy. The center has two on-site CT scanners available for patient convenience.
Electronic Portal Imaging or EPD. A high technology alternative that allows digital radiographs to be relayed instantaneously to the patient’s doctor, greatly reducing the time a patient spends in a procedure.
High Dose Rate Brachytherapy or HDR. Uses high intensity radioactive sources to eliminate cancer cells with extremely high precision. This highly effective and safe method of treatment uses a radioactive source that travels from the machine in which it is stored, through a catheter going into or adjacent to the cancerous area within the body. The catheters are typically placed during a separate surgical procedure that precedes the brachytherapy administration. HDR therapy can be used alone in the treatment of cancers but is typically utilized in conjunction with external beam radiotherapy.
Image Guided Radiation Therapy or IGRT. IGRT involves conformal radiation treatment that is guided by specialized imaging tests including computed tomography scans, ultrasound or x-rays. Since tumors can move due to breathing and organ motion, IGRT is helpful in delivering a more accurate radiation dose. The patient is localized in the treatment room in the same position as planned from the computed tomography scan. Frequent two and three dimensional imaging is performed during a course of radiation treatment. The images are used to guide the radiation therapy in order to more accurately focus the radiation treatment and avoid adjacent critical structures, or normal tissue. IGRT thereby significantly reduces side effects and toxicity from radiation treatment.
IMRT. Otherwise known as Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy, this is the process of delivering x-ray treatment by many different angles through small moving apertures of tungsten blocks that open and close by computer-directed software operated in the gantry or head of the x-ray machine. This finely tuned radiation beam allows more pinpoint targeting of the cancer being treated. Treatment margins can be accurately used up to 1-2 mm if necessary, thereby reducing high dose radiation to the adjacent critical structures and minimizing side effects. Typically, IMRT is utilized to treat cancers of the spinal cord, prostate, breast, and head & neck areas in which shaping of the radiation beam is extremely critical due to adjacent structures.
Low Dose Rate Brachytherapy. Low dose rate brachytherapy is utilized in the form of radioactive iodine-125, palladium-103, iridium-192, and cesium-137. Low dose brachytherapy is utilized to treat cancers of the prostate, cervix, lung, and head & neck areas. Radioactive iodine-125 and palladium-103 are the most common isotopes used for radioactive seed implantation to treat prostate cancer. Radioactive seeds are placed into the prostate gland and remain in the gland in order to successfully eradicate the cancer cells. Prostate seed implantation can be undertaken in conjunction with external beam radiotherapy as boost treatment or can be administered alone as definitive treatment. Prostate brachytherapy has been shown to be as successful as surgical removal of the prostate gland and is an alternative for patients considering prostatectomy.
Mammosite Therapy. This therapy reduces treatment times from seven weeks to five days as well as the patient’s period of recovery — all with a lower exposure to radiation. The Mammosite delivers radiation internally — directly to the affected areas — minimizing the exposure of healthy breast tissue.
Mammotome. This advanced breast biopsy technology enables several tissue samples to be acquired without removing and reinserting the probe. As a result, there is minimal discomfort, less internal scarring and recovery time than open surgical or core needle biopsies.
Open MRI. For years, traditional MRI systems have proven challenging for larger or claustrophobic patients. The Open Bore MRI allows every patient a greater sense of comfort with a wider opening and reduced magnet size. These design improvements in no way compromise the imaging capabilities as the Open Bore MRI produces images of stunning detail and clarity with a 1.5T High-Field magnet. In addition to the increased roominess and imaging capability, the Open Bore MRI utilizes advanced technologies that enable it to receive these high-quality images in a decidedly condensed amount of time.
PET/CT. The combined power of both PET and CT technology aid our physicians in diagnosing and treating cancer faster and more effectively than ever before. The PET/CT produces images that provide both anatomic and metabolic information with stunning detail and sensitivity. This allows physicians more comprehensive information from a single exam, such as the exact size and location of a tumor and the best therapy options. In addition, this powerful system significantly decreases exam time and allows patients much greater comfort and piece of mind.
PET Scan. A positron emission tomography, or PET scan, is an imaging technique that uses positively charged particles (radioactive positrons) to determine cancer stage (extent of spread) and to judge the effectiveness of cancer treatment. They are used most often in patients with brain cancer, colorectal cancer, lymphoma, melanoma, or lung cancer.
RapidArc Radiotherapy. RapidArc delivers powerful tumor-destroying radiation with remarkable precision. This technology enables radiation therapists to program the linear accelerator treatment unit to deliver precise forms of Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy or IMRT up to eight times faster than other IMRT systems. It does so by delivering the complete IMRT treatment to the patient in fewer gantry rotations than traditional IMRT. As a result, the tumor receives the full daily radiation dose in about 2 minutes or less. This reduces the time the patient has to lie still and avoid any movement. RapidArc greatly increases patient comfort and quality of care.
Stereotactic Radiosurgery or SRS. SRS is a highly precise and minimally invasive form of radiation therapy that is used to treat cancer in any location in the body. Initially, SRS was used to treat tumors of the brain, but has evolved to treat cancerous tumors anywhere in the body successfully. SRS delivers a high dose of precisely targeted radiation using highly focused x-ray beams, which allows the sparing of healthy tissue. SRS is a significant alternative to invasive surgery, most importantly for tumors located deep within or close to critical structures.