Mayo Clinic offers state-of-the-art radiation therapy, such as:
- Brachytherapy. Also called internal radiation therapy, brachytherapy (brak-e-THER-uh-pee) involves using radioactive implants (such as seeds, small pellets or hollow needles) to deliver localized radiation in or near a tumor to help destroy the cancer. For example, in permanent prostate brachytherapy, doctors implant small radioactive pellets near cancerous tissue in the prostate. To kill cancer cells, the seeds are left in place to give off a low dose of radiation for weeks or months.
- Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3-D CRT). In this type of treatment, a computer is used to create a 3-dimensional picture of the tumor to conform or match the radiation beam to the shape of the tumor. Many radiation beams are aimed at the tumor from different angles, sparing normal tissue as much as possible.
- Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). IMRT is an advanced type of three-dimensional radiation that conforms to the shape of a tumor. With IMRT, beams are aimed at the tumor from several directions, plus the intensity or strength of the beams can be adjusted to minimize the amount of radiation that reaches normal tissue.
- Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT). IGRT planning begins with a computerized tomography (CT) scan, and sometimes other imaging scans, to help precisely direct the radiation beams to the targeted tumor tissue.
- Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT). During the surgical procedure, after the tumor is removed, IORT delivers a concentrated beam of radiation to the tumor site while sparing normal surrounding tissue.
- Stereotactic radiosurgery. Stereotactic radiosurgery uses precisely focused radiation beams to treat tumors and other abnormal growths in the brain, spine, liver, lung or other sites. Computers create 3-D images to guide doctors in delivering radiation to the target area with minimal exposure to surrounding normal tissue. Mayo Clinic's Minnesota campus uses gamma-knife radiosurgery for treating the brain. All Mayo Clinic campuses use linear accelerator (LINAC) treatment for various areas in the body.
- Radiofrequency ablation (RF ablation). RF ablation is a minimally invasive treatment for cancer. This treatment is an alternative when surgery is not a good option for certain reasons, such as when other medical conditions increase the risk of surgery.
See a slide show about radiation therapy treatment planning on MayoClinic.com.