Radiation Therapy

Radiation Center of Greater Nashua Radiation Therapy

Radiation Therapy

What is Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high energy x-rays and/or electrons to destroy cancer cells and treat disease. The equipment used to generate these x-rays is called a linear accelerator. It is similar to the machine which takes x-ray pictures except that a linear accelerator can precisely focus on a specific area. As a result, we can carefully calculate the amount and exact location of the radiation delivered and do so while protecting healthy cells surrounding the tumor. Most healthy cells that are indirectly damaged by radiation can quickly repair themselves.

Radiation therapy is used:

  • Alone, as the only treatment you need
  • Before surgery to shrink the tumor
  • During surgery to protect the area around the tumor
  • After surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells
  • With chemotherapy, which makes the cancer cells more sensitive to radiation treatment
  • After chemotherapy to target and treat remaining cancer cells
  • To control symptoms such as pain or bleeding

Types of Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy does not hurt. You will not feel the radiation treatments. The type and dosage of radiation you receive is tailored to treat the type, size, stage, and location of your cancer. Your medical condition is also considered. Your Radiation Oncologist will work closely with you and all of your cancer specialists, referring provider and primary care physician to plan the treatment that is best for you.

There can be side effects from radiation therapy. Your Radiation Oncologist will discuss these with you before treatment begins. We will give you the information you need to make an informed choice about your treatment plan. Please ask your team any questions you may have.

Doctor Selfie with Radiation Therapy Patient
Learning about radiation therapy at the Radiation Center of Greater Nashua.

External Radiation Therapy

External radiation therapy is delivered using a machine called a linear accelerator to direct beams of high energy x-rays at your tumor. The machine can change positions so the beams may enter your body from any angle. By changing the angle of the beams, your Radiation Oncologist is able to match the shape of the beam to the shape of your tumor and spare as many healthy cells as possible. 

Types of external radiation therapy include:

Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS)

High precision delivery of a single, high dose radiation treatment to a brain or spine tumor while sparing normal surrounding tissue. Special immobilization imaging techniques and equipment are used for this very focused treatment delivery.

Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)

High-precision delivery of high-dose radiation therapy over 2-5 treatments while sparing normal adjacent tissue. SBRT involves special patient immobilization imaging techniques that are initiated during planning and used at each treatment to enhance the precision of treatment.  

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) 

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy [IMRT) is an advanced mode of high-precision radiation therapy that allows the radiation dose to conform more precisely to the three-dimensional shape of the tumor by modulating the intensity of the radiation beam. The precision of IMRT delivers the maximum dose of radiation to the tumor while sparing normal tissue around the tumor.  

Stereotactic Radiation Therapy (SRT)

A high precision technique using a special head frame to immobilize and position patients during treatment delivery for certain brain tumors. Unlike SRS, SRT is delivered daily over several weeks.

Surface Guided Radiation Therapy (SGRT)

Surface Guided Radiation Therapy (SGRT) uses three-dimensional cameras to actively track patients’ surface in 3D, for both setup and motion management during radiotherapy. If your body moves out of the planned position, the SGRT treatment will automatically pause and protect your healthy tissues from radiation. SGRT is a safe and non-invasive technology that can be used for many types of radiation therapy. This technology allows our Center to eliminate permanently tattooing the breast to allow marker-less Radiation Therapy. Our Center is the first center in Northern New England to adopt this technology.

Sophisticated Radiation Therapy Planning and Navigation

We are precisely targeting tumors while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue with the RayStation computerized treatment planning system and VisionRT systems. RayStation uses advanced computer algorithms to generate high-precision treatment plans that can be delivered accurately using the non-invasive and safe VisionRT technology. We are the only Center in the region to utilize this technology combination for planning and guidance to provide the safest and highest quality of care.