The radiation therapy team at CancerCare Manitoba includes radiation oncologists, radiation therapists, primary nurses, and radiation treatment nurses.
Radiation therapy is an integral part of the comprehensive cancer care. It uses focused, high-energy photon beams to destroy cancer cells, shrink tumours and relieve symptoms. More than half of cancer patients will undergo some sort of radiation therapy.
Radiation can be used as a single treatment or in combination with other therapies such as surgery and or chemotherapy. Radiation treatment is subdivided as external beam radiation and brachytherapy. External beam radiation treatment is given with machines called linear accelerators to deliver precise and focused high-energy x-rays. Lesions closer to the skin's surface can also be treated on the superficial x-ray unit which focuses a lower energy x-ray beam. Brachytherapy radiation is delivered internally by placing radioactive material in the body near tumours.
At CancerCare Manitoba, we offer state of the art external beam radiation treatment including Image-guided intensity modulated radiation treatment (IMRT), stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) and brachytherapy. SBRT and stereostatic radiosurgery (SRS) are also offered in collaboration with HSC.
Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is a state of the art treatment technique. IMRT allows delivery of more effective, precise radiation dose to tumour and minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissues, thus increasing possibility cure and reducing side effects. It is especially useful in the treatment of unusually shaped tumours, and tumours close to critical organs. IMRT involves complex and meticulous treatment planning and delivery. The radiation oncology team perform tumour mapping using the planning CT images and use sophisticated computer programs to design radiation treatment. At CancerCare Manitoba, we offer IMRT for various cancers sites.
Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) / stereotactic radio surgery (SRS) is an ultra precision advanced radiation treatment modality delivering vey high doses of radiation technique using a carefully programmed system of coordinates. SBRT uses special systems for properly positioning, three-dimensional imaging and image guided radiation therapy (IGRT) to offer maximum radiation dosage delivery precisely to the tumour. It is often accurate to within 1 to 2 millimeters thus minimizes exposure to surrounding healthy tissue and organs. This treatment is usually completed in fewer sessions (1-5) as compared to traditional radiation therapy. SBRT requires no anesthesia and usually has fewer side effects than traditional radiation approaches.
We offer SBRT/SRS for various cancers including lung, liver, spine, brain and bone metastasis.
Brachytherapy involves placing radioactive material into the cancer itself or into the surrounding tissue. It offers high dose of radiation to a tumour while reducing exposure to the surrounding healthy tissues. Brachytherapy also has other advantages such as shorter courses of treatment, fewer trips to physicians’ offices and shorter recovery times.
Brachytherapy implants also referred to as seeds contain radioactive material. These seeds can be inserted for a short period of time and removed once the treatment is complete, or they can be left in place after all of the radiation has been released. Many types of tumours respond better to this form of treatment, including prostate and cervical cancer.