About Our Physicians

Prostate Cancer Radiation Therapy Our Process our location

 

 

Cancers We Treat & Methods We Use

 

NORCC provides some of the most cutting-edge therapy and treatment planning alternatives for patients who have been diagnosed with various types of cancers: Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT),Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) and sophisticated electron beam radiation therapy. These technologies are not widely available at other outpatient treatment facilities.

 

IMRT is an advanced form of external beam radiation therapy that is delivered using a computer-controlled machine called a “linear accelerator.” IMRT allows physicians to vary the amount of radiation dose given to different parts of the treatment area. This is done with highly accurate, 3-Ddetail, according to the shape, size and location of the tumor. This allows for more precise radiation with less damage to surrounding, healthy tissue.

 

IGRT harnesses powerful computer technology to combine tumor imaging and treatment on a single machine called a “linear accelerator.”  Because tumors can move during treatment, IGRT’s high-resolution, 3-D images allow physicians to view and track tumors while a patient is on the table. Knowing exactly where the tumor is allows them to fine-tune patient positioning, compensate for motion and breathing, irradiate only the tumor and complete treatment with greater accuracy than ever before. For patients for whom IMRT/IGRT is not an option, we also provide standard high-dose radiation therapy.

 

With SBRT, the radiation treatment system corrects for motion and organ position during treatment, delivering an accurate dose and controlling the amount of radiation that gets to organs in real time.

 

For skin cancer, electron beam radiation therapy uses similar technology with tiny, electrically charged particles to target cancer cells on the surface of the body. The level of precision these therapies provide also allows for higher doses of radiation with less risk to surrounding tissue, increasing the likelihood of controlling or eliminating the cancer.

 

 

Prostate Cancer

 

The exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown. Prostate cancer is a group of cancerous cells (a tumor) that begins most often in the back portion of the prostate. A fatty diet, family history, older age and African American ethnicity are the only factors currently know to increase one’s risk for prostate cancer. Sexual activity (or lack there of), vasectomy, smoking, and benign prostatic hyperplasia do not appear to be risk factors for prostate cancer. If left untreated, prostate cancer may spread from the prostate to nearby lymph nodes, bones, or other organs. This spread is called metastasis. As a result of metastases, many men experience aches and pains in the bones, pelvis, hips, ribs, and back.

 

Unfortunately, there are often no early warning signs of prostate cancer and without regular screening; prostate cancer can go undetected for years. In some cases, as the tumor grows it may exert pressure on the urethra, blocking the flow of urine from the bladder causing urinary symptoms. Occasionally the first warning sign may be blood in the urine.

 

The risk of prostate cancer increases dramatically as men age. It affects only one in 10,000 men younger than forty, but one in 14 men in their sixties. Risk factors include African American ethnicity, if a family member has had the disease, even more so if that family member is a first-degree relative and men who have had a relative diagnosed with the disease before age 60.

 

Breast Cancer

 

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States. Treating it typically requires surgery, followed by radiation therapy to destroy any remaining cancer cells. The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender and age. Women are 100 times more likely to develop breast cancer than men, and two of three women diagnosed are over age 55. Other risk factors include heredity, race (Caucasian women are more likely to develop breast cancer than African American women), density of breast tissue, early onset of menstruation, significant weight gain after menopause, exposure to the drug DES or prior incidence of breast cancer. Some studies suggest additional risk factors including women having no children or later in life births, birth control pills, post menopausal hormone therapy, not breast-feeding, alcohol use, overweight or obesity and lack of exercise can increase the chance of developing breast cancer.

 

Physicians use the results of the diagnostic tests to determine the site of the cancer and to stage it—or tell how far it has spread. This helps determine the outlook for recovery and the best course of treatment. While breast cancer is often treatable, it can be life threatening. Therefore, patients should work together with their physician to choose among several treatment options that may be used alone or in combination, and understand the risks and benefits of each.

 

Head and Neck Cancer

 

This is a broad category that includes tumors in many areas of the head and neck, but is separate from brain cancer. Because surgery presents significant risk to critical structures in this area, radiation is often the first choice for treatment, often provided in conjunction with chemotherapy.

 

The incidence of thyroid cancer has increased in all races and in both males and females in the past two decades. Thyroid cancer incidence is almost three times higher in females than in males and more than two times higher in whites than in African Americans. However, despite the increase in incidence, death rates have remained very low.

The most significant risk factors for head and neck cancer are alcohol and tobacco. Other risk factors include exposure to wood or nickel dust or asbestos, plummer-vinson syndrome, exposure to viruses including HPV and Epstein-Barr, poor oral hygiene and gender - rates of head and neck cancer are nearly twice as high in men and greatest in men over age 50. Many head and neck cancers can be cured if found early. .

 

Colorectal Cancer

 

Colorectal cancer will affect approximately 5% of Americans, men and women alike. Found early, there is a 90% chance for a cure. Treating it typically requires surgery, followed by radiation therapy to destroy any remaining cancer cells. However, older radiation delivery methods can expose nearby, healthy tissue to damage.

 

Not counting skin cancer, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates there are approximately 106,000 new cases of colon cancer and 40,800 new cases of rectal cancer diagnosed each year. Personal risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 19. The majority of colorectal tumors are found in patients over age 50. Other risk factors include family history of color cancer, history of polyps in the colon, ethnicity (African Americans and Ashkenazi Jews are at higher risk) and lifestyle choices such as diets high in fat and red meats and low in fruits and vegetables, along with lack of exercise, obesity, smoking and alcohol consumption.

 

Brain/CNS Cancer

 

While relatively rare, and often curable, finding the right therapy to treat tumors in the brain or central nervous system (CNS) can be challenging. Treatment usually requires surgery, followed by radiation therapy to destroy any remaining cancer cells.

 

According to the American Cancer Society, the chance that a person will develop a malignant tumor of the brain or spinal cord is less than 1% (about 1 in 150 for men and 1 in 182 for women). Brain/CNS cancer accounts for about 1.5% of all cancers and 2.3% of all cancer-related deaths. The number grows significantly when benign tumors are factored in. Most brain tumors are random, meaning they have no known cause. The most significant risk factor is exposure to radiation, either on the job or as cancer treatment. Other risk factors include cancer in another location, immune system disorders and genetic syndromes such as neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis, von Hippel-Lindau disease, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Gorlin syndrome, Turcot syndrome and Cowden syndrome.

 

 

Bone Cancer

 

Bone cancer is relatively rare in the United States. Only primary bone cancer requires surgery. However, bone cancer is often secondary, metastasized from cancers in other areas of the body. Radiation therapy is the primary form of treatment for secondary bone cancer. Primary bone cancers make up a very small percentage of all cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, there were approximately 2400 new cases of bone and joint cancer in 2008. Osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma usually occur in children and adolescents. Chondrosarcoma occurs more often in adults.

 

Unlike some other cancers, there are no tests that can detect bone cancer early. The best thing to do is report symptoms to your doctor. The most common symptom is bone pain, which is not constant at first, but becomes constant as the cancer grows. Other symptoms include swelling, tenderness, difficulty with normal movement, fatigue and weight loss. Symptoms can appear in other areas of the body if the cancer has spread.

 

There are several tests physicians can use to further the diagnostic process and look for tumors. These include x-ray, CT, MRI, Radionuclide bone scan or PET scan. As with other cancers, the only way to know for sure is with a biopsy—a procedure in which a sample of the tumor is sent to the lab to be examined under a microscope. With a needle biopsy, a needle is used to remove a small amount of fluid and tissue from the suspect area. With a surgical biopsy, the doctor cuts through the skin to extract a small piece of the tumor.

 

Contact Us

 

Treatment options and procedures vary depending on the patient, type of cancer and treatment plan recommended by their physician. Please contact us for more information.