Radiation oncology services in Palm Beach County, Florida
The JFK Comprehensive Cancer Institute has the most advanced, modern radiation therapy equipment. We offer three major radiation treatment modalities to our patients: external beam radiation, brachytherapy and radiosurgery.
To learn more about our radiation therapy services, please call our Cancer Institute at (561) 964-2662. Our office is open Mon - Fri: 8am - 4pm.
What is radiation therapy?
Radiation therapy has always been an important component in the integral management of cancer care. In radiation therapy, beams of energy or radioactive particles are aimed directly at a tumor or place in the body that has been affected by cancer. Radiation therapy kills cancer cells or keeps them from growing and spreading. Modern technical advancement in instrumentation and cancer biology has made radiation therapy more effective than ever before for many types of cancers.
When is radiation used?
More than half of all people with cancer are treated with some form of radiation therapy. Many factors will impact when and how radiation therapy is used to treat cancer, but it may be used in combination with chemotherapy, prior to or after surgery. For terminally ill patients, radiation therapy may be used to improve quality of life.
Radiation treatment planning
Medical imaging technology plays a crucial role in accurately planning for radiation treatment. At JFK Medical Center, we use the following advanced diagnostic imaging procedures as planning tools in radiation treatment:
- 16-slice large-bore computed tomography (CT) scanning
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan with computed tomography (CT) scan (PET/CT)
These medical imaging tools allow our radiation team to identify tumor regions for treatment as well as critical organs and tissues that need protection during radiation treatment. Once these areas are established, our highly sophisticated computer software is used to design and optimize individualized treatment plans to ensure the tumor is precisely targeted with minimal radiation damage to healthy tissues.
Types of radiation therapy
Radiation therapy can be administered from the outside of the body (via high-tech equipment) as well as from the inside through the implantation of a radioactive source. The method your radiation oncologist chooses will depend on the type of cancer you have and the location of your tumor.
For some patients, intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) may be deemed the best treatment. IORT is most commonly used in the treatment of breast cancer and it allows radiation therapy to be delivered during surgical treatment for breast cancer.
External beam radiation
External beam radiation is a noninvasive treatment that supplies radiation from outside the patient's body. An advanced radiation therapy machine, called a linear accelerator, is used to localize and target the cancer cells. The linear accelerator provides the high-energy X-ray and electron beams of radiation that are delivered to the tumor site.
At JFK Medical Center, we offer a range of different technologies and techniques to perform external beam radiation, including:
- 3D conformal radiation therapy—This technology shapes the radiation beams being administered to match the size and shape of the targeted tumor.
- 3D virtual simulation—We use this technology to show patients a 3D example of their planned radiation treatment using imaging tools like CT and PET/CT scans.
- Image-guided target localization—This technique allows our radiation team to precisely target the tumor or site of localized radiation treatment. We implement technologies including ultrasound, X-rays and cone-beam CT (where X-rays form a cone shape).
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)—This is high-precision radiotherapy that uses computer-controlled linear accelerators to provide specific radiation doses to a malignant tumor or areas within the tumor.
- Respiratory-gated radiation therapy—This process allows movement of a tumor to be continuously monitored while patients breathe normally. Radiation is only delivered when the tumor is properly aligned, and stops when it moves out of the target area.
- Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS)—This form of noninvasive radiation therapy uses the CyberKnife® System to offer highly targeted, precise radiation to treat tumors in the brain.
- Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT)—This technique is similar to stereotactic radiosurgery but is used to treat tumors in the body, most commonly in the breast, lung, bladder and colon. We use the CyberKnife® or TrueBeam® technology for this type of therapy.
Robotic radiosurgery system
Robotic radiosurgery treatment involves no cutting, as it is the world's first and only robotic radiosurgery system designed to treat tumors noninvasively. This pain-free option may work well for patients who have complex or inoperable tumors, or for those who may be looking for surgical alternatives. The treatment accurately delivers beams of high-dose radiation to tumors, allowing for fewer treatments and giving patients new hope in the fight against cancer.
Robotic radiosurgery differs from conventional surgery in several ways:
- It uses image-guidance software to continuously adjust treatment to accommodate any patient or tumor movement
- It can treat a broad range of tumors throughout the body
- It can treat the tumor with radiation without affecting healthy tissue
Brachytherapy is a form of radiation therapy that is delivered internally through the implantation of tiny radioactive seeds directly into the tumor to kill cancer cells. The radiation dose is calculated to exactly match the size and shape of the patient's tumor or affected body cavity, ensuring the cancerous area receives the correct radiation dose while preventing unnecessary radiation to surrounding tissues.
The brachytherapy procedures at JFK Medical Center are performed in a dedicated suite that offers the following treatments:
- High-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy—This is a primary treatment for gynecological malignancies, such as cervical, endometrial and vaginal cancers, which offers shorter and fewer radiation treatments, typically on an outpatient basis.
- Interstitial and intracavitary implants—This means a doctor may deliver radioactive seeds through a needle or catheter (interstitial) into the tissues of the body or through the insertion of a delivery device into the affected body cavity (intracavitary).
- Mammosite—This type of brachytherapy is used to deliver radiation therapy following breast cancer surgery, such as a lumpectomy. It delivers radiation directly into the breast tissue from where the mass (tumor) had been surgically removed.
- SAVI® high-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy—This form of radiation is ideal for patients with early stage breast cancer. It uses a specialized, implantable delivery system to provide internal radiation following a lumpectomy.