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Cancers & Benign Lesions

Our Radiation Oncology facility provides treatment for:

Lung Cancer
Radiation may be the main mode of treatment for lung cancer, especially for those who are not healthy enough to undergo surgery. After surgery, radiation therapy can be used to kill very small deposits of cancer that cannot be seen and removed during surgery. Radiation therapy can also be used to relieve symptoms such as pain, bleeding, difficulty swallowing, and problems caused by brain metastases.

Breast Cancer
Radiation may be used to destroy cancer cells that remain in the breast, chest wall, or underarm area after surgery. Less often, radiation is used to reduce the size of a tumor before surgery. In some cases, the area treated by radiation therapy may also include supraclavicular lymph nodes (nodes above the collarbone) and internal mammary lymph nodes (nodes beneath the breast bone in the center of the chest). When given after surgery, radiation therapy is usually not started until the tissues have been able to heal for about a month.

Prostate Cancer
Radiation is sometimes used to treat low-grade cancer that is still confined within the prostate gland or that has only spread to nearby tissue. Cure rates appear to be similar to those for prostate removal. If the disease is more advanced, radiation may be used to reduce the size of the tumor and to provide relief from present and future symptoms. Both external beam radiation or radioactive seed implantation, a form of brachytherapy, are good methods for curing prostate cancer. Additionally, high dose rate (HDR) radiation therapy (another form of brachytherapy) may be used in cases where the patient is not a candidate for seed implantation.

Colon and Rectal Cancer
The main use for radiation therapy in people with colon cancer is when the cancer has attached to an internal organ or the lining of the abdomen. Radiation therapy is used to kill the cancer cells left behind after surgery. For rectal cancer, radiation is also given to prevent the cancer from coming back in the surgical site. For both cancers, radiation therapy is given to treat cancer that has come back near the place where it started and that is causing symptoms such as pain.

Pancreatic Cancer
Surgery represents the only opportunity to cure this disease. In most but not all cases, patients will receive radiation therapy and chemotherapy before or after surgery. Locally advanced cancers of the pancreas, which are those that have spread too far to be completely removed by surgery, are treated with chemotherapy or a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Sometimes, a patient receives chemotherapy and radiation together and is then reevaluated to see if the cancer has shrunk enough to be completely removed by surgery.

Spinal Cord Tumors
These tumors are treated in a manner similar to those in the brain. Meningiomas are cured by surgical removal, as are some ependymomas of the spinal cord. If surgical removal of an ependymoma is incomplete, it is followed by radiation therapy. Astrocytomas of the spinal cord cannot be totally resected and are treated, after biopsy, by radiation therapy.

Benign (Non-Cancerous) Lesions
Radiation therapy can also be used to treat a variety of benign, or non-cancerous, lesions— for example, certain pituitary growths, keloids (overgrowth of scar tissue at the site of a healed skin injury), and heterotopic bone growths (formation of bone where it is not normally found, such as in muscle).

Brain Tumors
  • Noninfiltrating Astrocytomas - In most cases, these tumors are cured by surgery alone. Radiation therapy may be given, particularly if the tumor is not completely removed.
  • Low-grade Astrocytomas (Infiltrating or Diffuse Astrocytomas) - After as much of the tumor as possible is removed surgically, radiation therapy is usually given. However, radiation is not as effective against low-grade astrocytomas as it is against higher-grade astrocytomas. In some cases, radiation therapy may not be given or may be postponed until certain symptoms develop.
  • High-grade Astrocytomas (Infiltrating or Diffuse Anaplastic Astrocytomas, Glioblastomas) - After as much of the tumor as possible is removed surgically, radiation therapy is given, usually followed by chemotherapy.
  • Lymphomas - These tumors are not curable with surgery because they tend to be spread widely through the brain and may be found in many places. Standard treatment is radiation therapy to the whole brain.
  • Oligodendrogliomas - These infiltrating tumors are usually not curable by surgery, although surgical treatment can relieve symptoms and prolong survival. If the tumor is causing disability, oligodendrogliomas are treated after surgery by chemotherapy, sometimes followed by radiation therapy.
  • Ependymomas - These tumors do not infiltrate normal brain tissue and may be cured by surgery alone. If not completely removed by surgery, radiation therapy is given.
  • Meningiomas - These tumors can usually be cured if completely removed surgically. Radiation therapy may control regrowth of meningiomas that cannot be completely removed or those that recur after surgery. Chemotherapeutic or hormonal agents are experimental and have no proven benefit. Because of their slow growth, small or asymptomatic meningiomas, particularly in the elderly, can usually be watched rather than treated.
  • Schwannomas - These tumors are usually benign and are effectively cured by surgical removal. In some centers, small acoustic schwannomas are treated by stereotactic radiosurgery. For malignant schwannomas, radiation therapy is often given after surgery.
Contact Us
To contact the Radiation Oncology Department at CentraState Medical Center, call (732) 303-5290 or send an e-mail.