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The Cancer Care Center
Radiation therapy destroys cancer cells using high-energy radiation beams. This is a highly advanced form of cancer treatment, and you want to select a center that has advanced technology, as well as practitioners who are highly experienced. St. Anthony’s Cancer Care Center has both, as well as a patient-centered approach, where you will receive personalized care.
Radiation treatment for cancer
Radiation therapy may be used to:
- Cure the cancer. For some patients, radiation is able to destroy the cancer and no other treatments are necessary.
- Aid your surgery. Radiation can be given before, during or after surgery to destroy cancer cells or prevent them from returning.
- Aid chemotherapy treatment. Radiation given in conjunction with chemotherapy is called chemoradiation or radiochemotherapy.
- Relieve symptoms of cancer.
What to expect from radiation therapy
Radiation therapy is meticulously planned. The goal of radiation therapy is to use the highest dose possible to destroy the tumor while sparing the surrounding healthy tissues, nerves and organs.
Your Cancer Care Center health care team plans the radiation very carefully, so that the radiation hits the target precisely. Most radiation therapies used today use a technology which “sculpts” the radiation beam—the beam is crafted to match the tumor as precisely as possible so the surrounding tissue is spared. This sculpting requires precise measurements and sophisticated imaging techniques.
Steps taken before radiation therapy:
- Your Cancer Care Center health care team works with you to determine the exact area that needs treatment.
- Your team plans meticulously, using sophisticated imaging studies, including computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
- Your team helps you find a comfortable position for you to lie in. It is crucial to the success of the treatment that you are in the same exact position for each therapy session, so that the radiation hits the same place every time.
- You will probably need a customized body or head mask to help immobilize you during therapy; this ensures the radiation is accurate every time and does not damage healthy tissue.
Side effects from radiation therapy
Radiation therapy are local treatments only affecting the cancer cells in the specific area of the body being treated. They are targeted to spare other normal structures and parts of the body. Radiation affects different people differently. Your cancer team will advise you during and after your radiation treatments regarding potential side effects of your specific treatment .
At St. Anthony’s Cancer Care Center, our entire cancer team is here to help you prevent and manage your symptoms as best as possible. Side effects may include:
- hair loss
- skin pain
- shedding of the outer layer of skin
- increased skin coloring
- thinning of skin tissue
- low blood counts
- difficulty or painful swallowing
- edema (swelling)
- change in taste
- loss of appetite
- higher risk of infection
Most of these side effects disappear with time.
At St. Anthony’s Cancer Care Center, your radiation oncologist does not work alone. The entire health care team works together to coordinate the best possible care for you. From diagnosis to treatment, you receive the full spectrum of care from our skilled, experienced and caring staff.
At St. Anthony’s Cancer Care Center, you have access to the best cancer-fighting technology in the world. We have the most advanced equipment, including a Trilogy Stereotactic System, which is the most powerful and precise cancer treatment available.
Learn more about our radiation oncology procedures:
- External beam radiation
- 3-D conformal radiation
- Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
- Interventional radiology
- Cranial stereotactic radiosurgery
- Extracranial radiosurgery
- High-dose brachytherapy
- Trilogy IGRT system
For information about St. Anthony's Cancer Care Center - St. Louis, please call 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 800-554-9550 or visit find a physician online.
Working as trusted partners, the physicians and employees of St. Anthony's Health System will deliver care distinguished by its demonstrated quality and personalized service. We will be visibly engaged in improving the health and well being of the communities we serve in South County and beyond. We will stand together, proud to set the standard for independent community health systems.