Radiation oncology in Corpus Christi
At Corpus Christi Medical Center Cancer Center, we understand cancer is not just about procedures, medicines and appointments, it is about caring for the whole person and providing medical, emotional and spiritual support in healing. We use the latest radiation oncology technology and imaging services for precise treatment to reduce the amount of time required per radiation session.
Our skilled, compassionate professional oncology specialists provide a comfort level that will give you peace of mind as we begin the healing process together.
For more information about our cancer program or to schedule an appointment, call us at (361) 985-2273.
What is radiation therapy?
Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy and radiation oncology, is one of the most common cancer treatments. It is used to treat or shrink tumors and reduce pain for patients with advanced cancers, including breast, colorectal, head and neck, lung, prostate and gynecologic cancer.
The primary reasons for recommending this method of treatment include:
- Controlling the growth or spread of cancer
- Eliminating cancer entirely
- Alleviating or reducing pain
- Slowing the growth and spread of later-stage cancer, controlling its symptoms, and improving a patient’s quality of life
Your physician may recommend radiation therapy in combination with other cancer treatments, such as surgery and/or chemotherapy, to see the best possible outcome.
What to expect with radiation therapy
Radiation therapy uses high-energy ionizing radiation to treat the disease, even deep within the body, noninvasively. Here's how the treatment will work:
- You'll receive a CT scan to allow the doctor to precisely locate and identify exactly where the cancer is.
- We'll design your treatment plan, arranging the radiation beams to maximize the cancer site's dose while keeping doses low in healthy tissues.
- When radiation is applied to cells, it inhibits their ability to grow and divide. The ultimate goal in radiation therapy is to damage all the cancer cells to no longer divide and grow.
- Radiation damages normal cells, but by keeping the doses lower in the normal tissues, effects can be minimized.
- Your treatment is planned, monitored and delivered by a specialized team that includes a nurse, dosimetrist, medical physicist, radiation therapist, and radiation oncologist.
Our radiation treatments and services
Our oncologists use genetic testing to provide insight to determine personalized treatments for each patient. We offer a wide range of services and treatments using radiation therapy designed to slow and, ideally, stop the growth of cancer, including:
Brachytherapy is an internal radiation procedure that involves a radioactive implant inside the body in or near a tumor. Based on the type of cancer and treatment plan, implants may be temporary or permanent.
Computed tomography (CT) and 3D treatment planning
These scans, which are part of our imaging services, are used by the doctor to map out the specific area you need to be treated so the radiation is as targeted and accurate as possible.
The results of this scan also provide your doctor with additional information, such as the type and size of the cancer, whether the cancer is close to other structures in the body and how far the radiation will need to travel.
Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
IMRT is an advanced form of radiation therapy used to treat various types of tumors. This procedure can influence beams of radiation to conform to the shape of a tumor. These beams are controlled and can change throughout the treatment. IMRT allows for targeted radiation dosing and avoids or reduces the side effects of treatment on the surrounding tissue.
Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
IGRT allows radiation therapists to see where they are directing the radiation so they can be more precise in treating the cancer. It's used to treat areas of the body that move, such as the lungs. This therapy is paired with imaging technology that allows your doctor to view the tumor before and during treatment.
Prostate seed implantation
This type of radiation therapy involves placing radioactive seeds into the prostate to kill cancerous cells. This procedure provides a high dose of radiation to the prostate gland and, sometimes, the seminal vesicles on either side of the prostate gland.
The stage of cancer determines whether a patient is a viable candidate for the procedure. Seeds give off their radiation slowly over several months. Within one year, the radioactivity is usually gone; however, the seeds remain in the prostate gland.
Respiratory gated treatment planning
Respiratory gating is a process that adjusts the radiation beam to account for any movement of the chest during the normal breathing process. A tumor can sometimes move during treatment, primarily if it is located in a part of the body that naturally moves. With this technique, our team can create an individualized treatment that keeps potential position changes in mind.
Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT)
SBRT is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to deliver precise radiation from different angles to a small tumor area. This procedure is most commonly used for brain tumors and some head, neck, lung, spine and liver tumors. SBRT is generally delivered in three to five treatments.
Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS)
SRS delivers large, precise radiation doses to small tumors in the brain or spine in one treatment without cutting or any additional surgical procedure. This minimally invasive type of surgery targets a tumor with more precision than standard radiation treatment options.
Our radiation therapy team
Our care team includes radiation oncologists, nurse practitioners, radiation therapists, medical physicists, dosimetrists, nurses, patient care coordinators and nurse navigators to ensure you receive comprehensive care in a safe, comfortable environment.
The team works closely with your primary care physician, medical oncologist and surgeon to meet your individual needs and coordinate with your overall treatment plan.
We also provide nurse navigators to reinforce patient education on cancer and treatment options, streamline communication between healthcare teams and act as your advocate from diagnosis through recovery.
Cancer support and resources
Our staff will be by your side throughout your cancer journey, providing both you and your family with a variety of resources, information and encouragement, including:
- Access to clinical trials
- Connections to support groups for you and your family
- Educational materials and programs to guide your decisions
- Guide to help caregivers navigate the cancer diagnosis and treatment of a loved one
- Ongoing contact and follow-up with you, your caregivers and the additional doctors who are treating you
- Recommendations on how to manage common side effects of cancer treatment and how to feel better through exercise, nutrition and pain management
- Referrals to community and outside resources, such as financial and legal assistance, as well as spiritual guidance
- Understanding, reassurance and compassionate care