Radiation oncology (also called radiation therapy) treats cancer and other diseases with radiation, or high-energy X-rays. Radiation oncology may be used to cure cancer, control its spread or to reduce some of its associated symptoms. At the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute, we provide a full spectrum of radiation technologies. Based on your diagnosis and the extent of your cancer, tumor location, and tissue sensitivity, your Lancaster General Health treatment team will recommend a radiation program tailored to your needs.

Experts in Radiation Oncology

LG Health has a dedicated team of experienced, board certified radiation oncologists, certified radiation therapists, medical physicists, medical dosimetrists and nurses dedicated to leading-edge technologies. Our staff has specialized training in treating complex cancer cases. Treatment technology includes:

The Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute is the only provider in Central Pennsylvania to offer all four types of radiosurgery: Gamma Knife, TomoTherapy Hi-Art, CyberKnife M6, and TrueBeam technology, through an integrated-care approach.

Accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR)

Accreditation by the American College of Radiology certifies the high level of quality, safety and comprehensive services that we provide to our patients. Lancaster General Health is an affiliate member of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, which improves access to national clinical research trials.

CyberKnife® M6™

When you’re facing news of a tumor, you and your family want the best treatment options possible. In 2013, the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute became the first hospital in the U.S. to offer the CyberKnife M6 system. This state-of-the-art, pain-free radiation therapy gives new hope to patients with tumors that are either too large or too complex to be removed surgically.

Recently, our treatment capabilities expanded even further with an upgrade to our CyberKnife M6 system — the InCise™ Multileaf Collimator. Recognized as the most advanced robotic radiosurgery system available, the collimator reduces treatment time from about 40 to 20 minutes, and can treat larger and more complex tumors, greatly increasing the number of patients eligible for CyberKnife technology.

The collimator’s individual leaves can move independently to shape the radiation beam to the complex shape of the tumors. High doses of radiation are delivered with extreme accuracy, and because CyberKnife adapts to motion in real time, it helps ensure that radiation is delivered only to the tumor, while sparing healthy tissue. This is particularly useful for treating tumors of the lung, liver, and prostate, where movement is common.

The CyberKnife M6 system treats cancerous and non-cancerous tumors anywhere in the body, when surgery is not appropriate or desirable, including: head and neck, spine, liver, pancreas, prostate, lung, and other soft tissues. Compared to traditional radiation treatments, the CyberKnife uses a smaller radiation field that pinpoints the tumor, sparing healthy tissue. Most patients receive from one to five treatments.

Advantages include:

  • No incisions
  • No pain
  • No anesthesia
  • No hospitalization requirement
  • Reduced radiation exposure to healthy tissue
  • Flexibility to treat large and/or complex tumors
  • Shorter course of therapy
  • Fewer short- and long-term side effects
  • Little or no recovery time
  • Immediate return to daily activities

TomoTherapy® Hi-Art® treatment

Since 2009, Lancaster General Health has offered patients an innovative treatment called TomoTherapy Hi-Art technology. This state-of-the-art radiation therapy delivery system enhances care for patients with:

  • Prostate cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Metastatic brain tumors
  • Primary brain tumors
  • Pancreatic tumors
  • Liver tumors
  • Breast cancer
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Lung cancer

The TomoTherapy system uses computed tomography (CT) scans and special software to precisely locate the tumor targeted for treatment. At each treatment session, the radiation therapist takes a scan to verify the position of the tumor and adjust the patient’s position if necessary. During treatment, the patient lies on a couch. The TomoTherapy system delivers intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) from a full 360 degrees around the tumor as the couch glides slowly through the center of the treatment ring.

Advantages include:

  • Reduced radiation exposure to healthy tissue
  • Fewer side effects
  • Flexibility to treat difficult-to-reach tumors
  • Shorter course of therapy

Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is one of several advanced treatment options used to battle cancer. We use IMRT to treat:

  • Prostate cancer
  • Metastatic brain tumors
  • Primary brain tumors
  • Pancreatic tumors
  • Liver tumors
  • Breast cancer
  • Head & neck cancer
  • Lung cancer

Delivered via a linear accelerator or TomoTherapy Hi•Art technology, IMRT uses very precise external radiation, which can be broken down into tiny, pencil-thin beams with millimeter accuracy. This enables our team of doctors, radiation physicists and dosimetrists to conform a high dose of radiation to the specific tumor size and shape, while protecting healthy tissue.

The first step is an evaluation and development of a complex, computer-generated treatment plan that addresses the location and size of the tumor, as well as the surrounding organs and tissue. Then, patients undergo multiple treatment sessions — as many as five treatments a week for about seven to eight weeks.

Brachytherapy

Brachytherapy uses implanted seeds, wires or rods to destroy cancer by delivering radiation inside the body, as close to the tumor as possible. Our team has extensive experience using high-dose and low-dose brachytherapy to treat:

  • Prostate cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Vaginal cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Breast cancer

Brachytherapy concentrates the radiation dose on the cancer cells, which allows for a high total dose of radiation over a short period of time, with less damage to healthy tissue. The radioactive implants may be placed inside a body cavity or directly in the tumor. When treating prostate cancer, low-dose brachytherapy seeds, about the size of a grain of rice, are implanted permanently into the prostate. They are so small they can’t be felt, and can be safely left in place permanently. The implants are placed during a short surgical procedure, which may require general anesthesia.

TrueBeam™ Linear Accelerator

TrueBeam technology delivers powerful cancer treatments with speed, accuracy and precision, allowing the care team to address challenging cancers anywhere in the body, including the:

  • Abdomen
  • Brain
  • Breast
  • Head
  • Liver
  • Lungs
  • Neck
  • Prostate
  • Spine

The versatility of this advanced system gives Lancaster General Health radiation oncologists great flexibility in determining a personalized treatment plan for each patient. Combining radiotherapy and radiosurgery technology, TrueBeam technology can be used for:

  • Image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT)
  • Intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT)
  • RapidArc® radiotherapy
  • Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT)

TrueBeam rotates around the patient to deliver precisely targeted radiation from any angle. Integrated real-time imaging allows the radiation technologist to see the tumor and surrounding soft tissue and to make any necessary adjustments during treatment. Beam-shaping capabilities make it possible to deliver high doses to small targets. Using a technology called “respiratory gating,” the system synchronizes with the patient’s breathing, pausing beam delivery when the tumor moves out of the target range.

Advantages include:

  • Highly precise targeting reduces radiation exposure to healthy tissue
  • Short treatment sessions — often just a few minutes a day
  • Flexibility to treat complex tumors and metastatic cancers
  • No incisions
  • No pain
  • No anesthesia
  • No hospitalization requirement

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

Positron emission tomography, or PET, is a medical imaging technology that enables physicians to view how organ systems of the body are functioning at a cellular level. PET can help the physician detect disease (such as cancer and Alzheimer's), determine appropriate treatment for that disease, and efficiently track the body's responses to the treatment. PET has shown a high degree of accuracy in determining the presence or spread of many malignant tumors throughout the body.

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