Saint Francis is now offering
a promising new treatment for prostate cancer patients with bone metastases.
Make an appointment today to discuss your eligibility with a
Saint Francis cancer specialist:
Learn more about Xofigo®...
"Untreatable" and "inoperable" tumors are terms of the past at the Connecticut CyberKnife Center at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. The CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System uses precisely targeted radiation to destroy cancers and non-cancerous lesions anywhere in the body, including the prostate, lung, brain, spine, liver, pancreas and kidney.
Despite its name, the CyberKnife treatment involves no cutting. Instead, CyberKnife is the world's most accurate, real-time, full-body radiosurgery system, using x-ray-guided robotics to deliver focused radiation which painlessly eradicates tumors and lesions with pinpoint precision. Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center was the first to offer the CyberKnife® stereotactic radiosurgery system in southern New England. With more than 1,500 procedures performed since 2006, our team is one of the most experienced in the country. Learn more...
For conventional radiation therapy, Saint Francis/Mount Sinai Regional Cancer Center uses two Varian linear accelerators to deliver daily radiation treatments. Known as the linacs for short, these machines offer high-energy photon and electron beam treatments not available at smaller cancer centers. The two machines were installed in 2009 with Dynamitic Targeting, IGRT, innovative radiographic, fluoroscopic and cone done beam CT modes that are managed by visualization software. This allows us to offer the absolute latest in Intensity Moderated Radio Therapy (IMRT) and stereotactic radiosurgery treatment techniques.
What Is IMRT?
IMRT represents the next step in the evolution of radiation therapy. IMRT allows a physician to deliver tightly conforming high doses of radiation precisely to the tumor, while sparing adjacent tissues. Using this technique, we can now treat many tumors safely with higher doses of radiation, with the goal of achieving higher cure rates.
How Is IMRT Achieved?
The precise three-dimensional shaping of the radiation dose with IMRT is accomplished by using multiple shaped beams focused on the tumor. With IMRT, each beam varies in intensity to deliver higher doses to the tumor, and lower doses to nearby tissue. Learn more...
Is IMRT Right for Me?
IMRT is not appropriate for all cancers. IMRT offers the most benefit for types of cancer that are relatively small and localized, which are better able to be targeted with pinpoint precision. Speak to your physician to see if it may be right for you.
What Types of Cancer Is IMRT Used For?
Prostate cancer, head and neck cancers (which includes tongue, tonsil and throat cancers), brain tumors, and some lung and pancreatic cancers can be appropriate targets for IMRT. We are also investigating the use of IMRT for breast, cervix, and uterine cancers.
What Can I expect If I Receive IMRT?
State-of-the-art radiation therapy requires pinpoint accuracy to target tumors and spare healthy tissue. To do this, Saint Francis uses a new Philips Brilliance Big Bore CT scanner for precise three-dimensional imaging of patients. After your initial consultation with the radiation oncologist, you will be scheduled to have a special CT scan performed in the Radiation Oncology department. This is necessary even if you recently had a CT scan elsewhere. This "planning" CT scan will be performed with you in the exact position that you will be in for each of your radiation treatments.
Many times we will make custom-fabricated molds or casts, which will be used during each of your treatments. The purpose of these molds is to help ensure that you are in the same position each day to achieve the greatest precision. Following the completion of the scan, you will have three marks placed on the skin, which will be used for alignment for your upcoming treatments.
Your next appointment will be five to 10 days later. During this time period, the radiation oncologist, along with the medical physicists and dosimetrists perform the complex computer planning necessary to develop the optimal IMRT plan. When you return, we will take x-ray pictures to confirm the alignment. The treatments will then start either that day, or the following day. Each treatment will consist of the radiation machine mechanism moving around you for as many as nine different positions. At each position, the radiation beam is turned on, and the multileaf collimators will automatically begin moving inside the machine to deliver the IMRT. Typically each treatment will take 15 to 20 minutes. You should feel nothing during each treatment. Most courses of IMRT will last for five to eight-and-a-half weeks and involve treatments given Monday-Friday, five days per week, for a total of 25 to 43 treatments.
Does Insurance Cover IMRT Treatments?
Most insurance plans, including Medicare, cover the costs for IMRT. As with any medical procedure, it is always a good idea to check with your insurance carrier to confirm that the costs are covered, and that any necessary pre-approval requirements have been met.