For patients facing a cancer diagnosis, it can be a great comfort to know there are doctors who have devoted their careers to treating this disease. Locally, Shannon provides a broad spectrum of cancer care to patients.
Dr. James Studt, MD, Shannon Clinic radiation oncologist, oversees Radiation Therapy. The center is located downtown in the Shannon Clinic Magdalen building at 102 N. Magdalen.
What is radiation oncology?
Radiation oncology is the treatment of cancer with high-energy x-rays (radiation). Half of patients diagnosed with cancer receive some form of radiation therapy, which is often an alternative to surgery. Various treatments are offered to target specific types of cancer, including breast, lung, head and neck, gynecologic, skin, lymphomas, prostate, colorectal, and metastatic diseases. Treatment options include:
Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy is a valuable asset at the Shannon Oncology Center. A treatment planning CT scan is performed in the treatment position and, using the treatment planning computer, the radiation therapy fields are designed. This allows a more accurate treatment of a cancer and spares more of the normal adjacent tissue. This achieves the goal of cure or palliation (pain relief) while minimizing the potential for side effects of complications from the treatment.
For select cases, IMRT allows higher doses of radiation to be delivered directly to tumors and cancer cells, while protecting surrounding organs and tissues. IMRT with IGRT gives lower doses of radiation to healthy tissues and can have fewer side effects and complications. IGRT gives the ability to track the tumor during treatment even if it shifts as a result of breathing or movement of the bladder and bowels. IGRT can be used apart from IMRT for localization.
Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) is a treatment procedure similar to stereotactic radiosurgery, except it is used in areas outside the central nervous system. It targets the exact location of the tumor and delivers either a single high dose radiation treatment or a few fractionated radiation treatments (up to 5 treatments). SBRT is not available for all cancers and you should speak with your physician to determine if you would benefit from SBRT or standard radiation therapy techniques.
SRS is a radiation treatment of a central nervous system tumor that is applied in a single session with a high dose of radiation. Cranial SBRT is similar to SRS but it is applied in up to five treatments. These methods allow delivery of a high dose of radiation to the tumor or tumors with significantly lower dose to surrounding brain tissue. This results in the ability to control the disease with reduced side effects. SRS and Cranial SBRT can be used to treat malignant or benign tumors as well as others conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia.
HyperArc treatments allow the ability to deliver more compact radiation doses that closely conform to the size, shape, and location of tumors while sparing more surrounding healthy tissue. These advanced treatments can be delivered in the same amount of time as other types of treatments. HyperArc is designed to make it possible to easily target and eradicate isolated brain metastases and eliminate the need for and complications with whole brain radiation.
Also with HyperArc, multiple tumors can be irradiated at the same time without repositioning the patient. As a result, more metastatic brain cancer patients are now eligible for treatment than before. Frameless radiosurgery offers you a more comfortable and non-invasive alternative to other radiosurgery systems which require immobilization with a head ring that attaches to the skull.
Highly trained support staff
The technology available at the center is unique and advanced for its size. The center's highly trained support staff, including a chief therapist, medical physicist and dosimetrists, work together to determine the treatment plan for each patient. Another unique service patients receive is physician-provided care with one-on-one consults. Each patient is followed by Dr. Studt throughout the entirety of their treatment.
"It's important to offer these radiation therapy services here because patients are able to stay in town with their family and receive the same quality of care," Dr. Studt said. "For example, we have all the technology available locally for the external treatment of breast cancer. It is not necessary for the majority of patients to leave town to receive radiation treatment."
Shannon Oncology Center is the only radiation therapy center in West Texas accredited by the American College of Radiology. For more information, please call 325.653.2010.