Increase your cancer awareness

Michael Myers
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  • Maintain a healthy weight.
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  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Cut back on alcohol.
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What’s new in treatment

If you are faced with a cancer diagnosis, you become focused on one thing – getting well fast. Radiation treatments are often used as part of a treatment plan to combat cancer. However, effective, traditional, external radiation treatments can require daily sessions for up to six or seven weeks, placing a burden on you and your family. New developments in radiation treatment have resulted in encouraging news for cancer patients and their loved ones.

Brachytherapy

Brachytherapy is a type of radiation that places pencil-lead-size sources of radiation inside or next to the cancerous tissue. Brachytherapy can be a highly successful treatment for many types of cancer, including prostate, cervical, endometrial, breast, skin, lung and esophageal.

Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation

Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI), also referred to as high dose rate brachytherapy, is a shorter course of high dose radiation therapy. It is given to breast cancer patients and targets the area where the cancer is most likely to occur. It reduces the radiation treatment time and minimizes x-ray dose that cause harm to skin, lung, heart and breast tissue.

Benefits

Both brachytherapy and APBI are significant advances in cancer treatment. These techniques allow us to apply extremely accurate dosing while minimizing the dose to normal tissue, often resulting in better outcomes for the patient. Additional benefits include:

Minimized side effects. Surrounding healthy tissue is spared exposure to radiation, reducing possible side effects.

Shorter treatment time. A course can be completed in a matter of days, rather than weeks as with traditional radiation.

Cost-effectiveness. The shorter treatment time and better outcomes result in cost savings for both patient and provider.

If you are facing cancer, or know someone who is, these treatments are additional weapons in your cancer-fighting arsenal. Share this information, inform your friends and family of their options, and help spread the word about prevention. Encouraging others to make proactive steps today ensures a healthier tomorrow. To learn more about cancer prevention and treatments, visit www.swmedicalcenter.org/CancerCenter or www.cancer.org.

Michael Myers, MD, is a Radiation Oncologist at the PeaceHealth Southwest Regional Cancer Center.

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