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Community Healthcare System offers latest precision navigation systems for radiation therapy
Advances in radiation therapy are making it possible to give higher, more effective doses, as well as to offer treatment options where there were once none. The hospitals of the Community Healthcare System are among a small number of hospitals nationwide that can offer all the latest options in precision navigation systems for radiation therapy. St. Catherine Hospital is the home to one of these advanced radiation therapy systems, the CyberKnife®. For conventional radiation therapy, patients are referred to Community hospital in Munster or St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart.
For a consultation with a Radiation Oncologists at Community Hospital, call 836-6390; or a Radiation Oncologist at St. Mary Medical Center, call 219-942-5745.
Our services include:
- Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)
Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) uses a variety of digital imaging techniques to locate the tumor at the moment of treatment. When patients are positioned on the treatment table, an x-ray system rotates around the body to gather images of the tumor's location. These images are compared with existing images (CT, MRI, PET or others) to determine if the tumor has moved and what adjustments should be made in the delivery of radiation. Click Here to read more about IGRT and patients who have undergone this procedure.
- Prostate Cancer (IGRT)
In Image Guided Radiation Therapy for prostate cancer, three to five marker seeds are placed in the prostate. With an On-Board Imager that automatically locates implanted seeds, physicians can determine how to position a patient for each treatment. This technique accounts for any movement, improving the accuracy of the radiation and minimizing the exposure to adjacent healthy tissue.
- Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS)
Stereotactic Radiosurgery isn't surgery. It can be used to treat tumors close to critical organs, places where a surgeon would not want to venture. This method of radiation therapy uses focused beams of radiation on small and previously inaccessible tumors or lesions deep within the body. Radiation enters the body from different angles. By itself, each small beam of radiation does not harm the healthy tissue or organs it passes through. It is when each of these beams intersect at the target that a high enough dose is delivered to destroy the tumor. Click Here to read more about SRS and patients who have undergone this procedure.
- Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
Intensity-modulated radiation therapy enables doctors to deliver a dose of radiation that "conforms" to the three-dimensional shape of the tumor. Treatment is planned using CT images and computerized dose calculations to determine different beam directions so the radiation conforms to the shape of the tumor and projects nearby tissues and organs.
- High and low dose rate brachytherapy
Brachytherapy is an advanced form of cancer treatment sometimes called "seed implantation." For this therapy, radioactive "seeds" are placed in or near the tumor to attack the cancer at its source, minimizing the risk to healthy tissue. Used for more than a century, some of the diseases now treated with brachytherapy include prostate cancer, cervical cancer, endometrial cancer and heart disease. There are two different types of Brachytherapy - high dose and low dose. For high dose, seeds are placed temporarily in the body and removed. A low dose of radiation can be delivered to the site of the tumor with the placement of permanent seeds that over time lose their radioactivity. The "seeds" compare in size to a grain of rice.
- Conformal Radiation Therapy
Conformal Radiation Therapy refers to a method of delivering the radiation so that it is shaped to the unique size of the tumor. This "shaping" allows physicians to maximize the dose of radiation to cancerous tissue while limiting the damage to healthy tissue. With conformal radiation therapy, a CT based system is used to create a three-dimensional model enabling physicians to more accurately plan how radiation will enter the body to the site of the tumor.
- Radiopharmaceutical Therapy
- Prostate Seed Implants
Medical Director Andrej Zajac, M.D., was one of the first physicians in the Midwest to offer prostate seed implants. Seed implant treatment, also know as brachytherapy, involves insertion of small radioactive "seeds" directly into the prostate gland. Thin, hallow needles are used to place the seeds that remain in the body eventually loosing radioactivity. Each seed, about the size of a grain of rice, contains a low-energy radiation source that destroys cancer cells, without affecting nearby healthy tissue. Implant therapy involves a shorter recovery time and minimal disruptions to daily living.
- Mammosite® Breast Cancer Targeted Therapy | Click Here to read more about Mammosite and patients who have undergone this procedure.
Community Hospital was the first area hospital to perform a breast cancer treatment alternative that dramatically reduces the amount of time spent in radiation therapy after breast conservation therapy, a lumpectomy (removal of the tumor in the breast). The lumpectomy is generally followed by 6 to 7 weeks of external beam radiation to the entire breast. Mammosite is a form of partial breast delivering radiation from inside the lumpectomy site directly to the tissue. This is accomplished by inserting a soft balloon inside the lumpectomy cavity, usually at the time of breast surgery . Radioactive seeds are then placed into the balloon through the thin catheter (tube) connected to the balloon and removed after each treatment. Because the seeds are inside the balloon, radiation is directed only to the area of the breast where cancer was identified. This treatment is done twice a day over a five day period as an outpatient. When all the treatments are completed, the balloon is removed and patients can return to their normal activity.
- Respiratory Gaiting for lung cancer treatments
One of the main challenges in radiation therapy has always been dealing with tumor motion - both during and between treatments. The new Trilogy system at Community Hospital incorporates several advanced technologies to keep radiation on target. One of these techniques is called respiratory gating. With the system's advanced imaging capabilities, respiratory gating synchronizes the delivery of radiation with the patient's breathing cycle. This allows the patient to breathe normally and provides physicians with the ability to deliver the dose only when the tumor is in the same place. Few systems in the country can offer this level of accuracy.
- CyberKnife Center
CyberKnife Center at St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago is considered one of the pioneers in the use of high dose radiation to treat certain cancers of the brain, spine, pancreas, liver and lung, as well as other blood vessel malformations and benign tumors. With its unique precision capabilities, CyberKnife can target lesions unreachable by other radiosurgery systems, including GammaKnife, Modified Linear Accelerators and Shaped-Beam Systems. Click Here to read more about CyberKnife and patients who have undergone this procedure.