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Radiation Therapy

The affiliated radiation oncologists with BCH’s cancer program use a wide range of radiation therapies to eradicate cancer cells and spare healthy tissue. Radiation therapy may be recommended alone or before, during or after other treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy or immunotherapy.

There are several forms of radiation that can be administered non-invasively from outside of the body (external beam radiation), and other forms that are administered internally through implants (internal radiation therapy). Your cancer care team will work with you to choose the right treatment based on your cancer type and health situation.

External beam radiation therapy

External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) involves aiming high-energy radiation beams at your cancer. A special machine, called a linear accelerator, can be moved around the body to deliver the radiation beams from different angles.

EBRT is a local-regional treatment, which means it treats a specific part of your body. For example, if you have cancer in your lung, you will have radiation only to your chest, not to your whole body. It is noninvasive, painless and convenient, with the majority of appointments taking less than 15 minutes.

The different types of EBRT offered on our Foothills Medical Campus include:

  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT): A type of external beam radiation that uses multiple beams to precisely shape the high doses of radiation around the tumor and attempt to avoid giving high doses to surrounding critical organs that cannot tolerate these high doses. Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers-Boulder, BCH’s cancer services partner on our Foothills Medical Campus, offers patients an even more advanced form of IMRT known as volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT).
  • Stereotactic radiation therapy (also known as SRS, SRT, SSRS, SABR and SBRT): A special form of radiation in which a high dose is delivered in a short timeframe, typically requiring only one to five days of treatment. SRS or SRT is used when treating the brain; SSRS for the spine; and SABR or SBRT for all other sites in the body such as the prostate, lung, liver, bone, pancreas, kidney, breast and rectum.

    Stereotactic treatments can only be delivered with the latest technologies that maintain a high degree of accuracy and precision with advanced image guidance (such as the TrueBeam® Radiotherapy System). These technologies allow radiation oncologists to target a tumor or gland with an effective high dose of radiation and then reduce that dose very quickly outside of the tumor or gland or tumor, minimizing the treatment’s effect on healthy tissue.

Advanced technologies for positioning & monitoring accuracy

With sophisticated technology and advanced imaging capabilities, we can provide safer and more effective EBRT treatments:

  • Image guided radiation therapy (IGRT): Uses imaging such as computed tomography (CT), x-rays, or ultrasound to consistently and accurately direct EBRT to the correct site.
  • Surface guided radiation therapy (SGRT): Relies on 3D imaging, such as infrared or thermal cameras, to track patient positioning before and during treatment, providing an additional layer of safety, precision and accuracy.

ExacTrac Dynamic® combines image-guidance and
surface-guidance for motion monitoring

When it comes to treating cancer, safety, precision and accuracy means everything. BCH’s cutting-edge ExacTrac Dynamic system — a revolutionary all-in-one system with thermal-surface camera technology that works in tandem with real-time x-ray — delivers extraordinary accuracy and safety through real-time motion monitoring, helping to avoid the potential for missing the cancer and over-treating normal tissue.

Internal radiation therapy

Internal radiation therapy, also known as brachytherapy, involves implanting radioactive material in the body near or inside the tumor. Our affiliated radiation oncologists and interventional radiologists offer two types of internal radiation therapy:

  • High dose-rate [HDR] brachytherapy: This type of brachytherapy is frequently used in the treatment of uterine cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer and skin cancer. When using HDR brachytherapy, radiation oncologists place the radioactive material inside the body for just a few minutes at a time. The radioactive material is removed before the patient goes home. The treatment may be repeated several times, depending on the type of tumor, size and other factors.
  • Selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT): SIRT is an image-guided, non-surgical procedure used to treat tumors that can’t be removed with surgery, typically in the liver. Radiation oncologists work alongside an interventional radiologist to put tiny radioactive beads into the blood vessels leading directly to the tumor. This in turn destroys the blood vessels, reducing or stopping the growth of most liver tumors.

Why choose BCH for radiation oncology services?

  • Advanced technology: We use state-of-the-art equipment for your treatments, including the TrueBeam® Radiotherapy System and the ExacTrac Dynamic System, which can reduce the number of radiation sessions to as little as one to five for a variety of cancers.
  • Experienced and specialized staff: The affiliated radiation oncologists with our cancer program are board certified and have concentrated their practices on specific cancers and types of treatments.
  • A personalized approach to treatment: BCH’s affiliated radiation oncologists provide high-quality, whole-person, personalized care and support for cancer patients. This includes combining standard of care treatments with a complementary and integrative approach through resources such as our Center for Integrative Care.

Radiation oncologists with Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers-Boulder (RMCC-Boulder), located on our Foothills Medical Campus, are affiliated with BCH’s cancer program. To contact the Radiation Department at RMCC-Boulder,
call 303-385-2068 or 303-385-2029.

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