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Category Archives: Cancer Treatment

For cervical cancer, there are certain factors that predict high risk of recurrence after a surgical resection. Studies have shown that addition of radiation therapy (and in some cases concurrent chemotherapy) would significantly reduce risk of recurrence. These high risk factors include positive surgical margins, parametrial involvement, deep stromal invasion, lymphovascular invasion, tumors larger than Continue Reading

In practice of oncology, preserving an organ has either served a cosmetic reason or a functional one. For example breast conservation has merely served a cosmetic purpose but limb preservation in treatment of sarcomas, has served the purpose of preserving the function of a limb. When it comes to preserving the cervix, it’s preservation has Continue Reading

In treatment of cervical cancer, unless the tumor has been surgically removed and the radiation is given postoperatively, internal radiation is always a crucial part of the treatment. The reason for that is that with external radiation alone we would not be able to deliver the required doses of radiation to the tumor at the Continue Reading

Traditionally external radiation for treating cervical cancer was given with four-field technique. That is radiation beams were directed from anterior, posterior, right and left lateral directions. This technique did not spare any of organs inside the pelvis. With the invention of CAT scans, three-dimensional radiation therapy was developed. This technology was a CT-based radiation planning Continue Reading

For treating cervical cancer, often a combination of external and internal radiation therapy is utilized. For internal radiation special brachytherapy applicators called Tandem and Ovoid are used. Tandem is an applicator which is inserted through the cervical os into the uterus. Ovoids are a pair of applicators which are placed in the vaginal fornices, one Continue Reading

Lymph nodes in the armpit are the first location breast cancer would normally invade. Even though from staging standpoint, this is not technically considered metastatic or stage IV or M1 their involvement is an indication for radiation therapy. Technically speaking metastatic breast cancer suggests invasion of other organs by breast cancer. Organs commonly invaded by Continue Reading

What are the different types of brachytherapy (IRT – Internal Radiation Therapy)? “Internal” radiation or brachytherapy involves use of a variety of radioactive isotopes which are placed inside or near the tumor/cancer. By doing so, radiation does not have to go through the normal tissue between an external source and the target of radiation. Depending Continue Reading

Requirements for Radiation Treatment

What issues would make a patient not eligible to receive radiation treatment? A patient may not be eligible to receive radiation treatment either because radiation therapy is not indicated for treatment of that particular cancer or stage of the disease or because, even though indicated, it would not be safe to receive radiation. Contraindications to Continue Reading

Potential Delays in Beginning Radiation Treatments

What potential issues may cause a delay in beginning radiation treatments for breast cancer patients? The three common treatment modalities in treatment of breast cancer can be given in different sequences. The most common sequence is to start with surgery, continue with chemotherapy if indicated and finish with radiation therapy. But in some cases chemotherapy Continue Reading

Radiation Therapy and Fatigue

What advice do you give to patients about dealing with fatigue from radiation therapy? The best way to deal with fatigue from radiation therapy is creating a balance between getting enough rest and staying active enough. To succumb to the fatigue and give up physical activity would create a vicious cycle resulting in less energy Continue Reading

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