Radiation Therapy at MedStar Montgomery
At MedStar Montgomery Medical Center, thousands of patients have benefited from the comprehensive radiation planning and treatment services they have received at The Helen P. Denit Center for Radiation Therapy since we first opened our doors in 2001. Now, after a major expansion of the center, we are able to offer even more treatment options to our patients—in one convenient location close to home. In our newly expanded facility, patients receive personalized care in a welcoming environment that features spacious exam rooms and private consultation spaces. The addition of new state-of-the-art technology, a major focus of the expansion, makes it possible for us to provide the most advanced radiation treatments for a wide range of cancers while increasing our ability to care for more patients.
Radiation Oncology Treatments
MedStar Montgomery uses the most advanced tools to deliver radiation to ensure safety and quality, while enabling us to offer a variety of radiation treatment options to care for more patients. Radiation therapy uses special equipment to target and destroy cancer cells while sparing healthy tissue. Since cancer cells divide and spread more quickly than healthy cells, radiation is effective at destroying cancer cells and shrinking tumors.
MedStar Montgomery provides two general types of radiation therapy:
- Brachytherapy: This is a treatment in which radioactive materials known as seeds or sources are placed directly inside or very near the tumor, giving a high radiation dose to the tumor while reducing the radiation exposure to adjacent healthy tissues. The radiation destroys cancer cells from inside your body.
- External beam therapy: This form of radiation targets radiation beams at your tumor from outside your body using special machines.
We use the most advanced tools to deliver radiation to ensure safety and quality, while enabling us to offer a variety of radiation treatment options to care for more patients.
Introducing the Elekta Infinity Linear Accelerator
A linear accelerator is the machine most often used to deliver external beam radiation. And the Elekta Infinity Linear Accelerator, acquired as part of the expansion of our center, is one of the most advanced radiation therapy systems for cancer treatment available.
The Elekta Infinity can treat cancer anywhere in the body. Quite simply, it targets tumors more precisely, delivers a higher dose of radiation and requires fewer treatment sessions. It also reduces patient treatment times to as few as two minutes, in some cases. With this technology, our physicians can:
- Identify with greater ease and accuracy where cancerous cells end and healthy cells begin
- Target tumors more precisely
- Pinpoint doses of radiation to minimize radiation exposure to surrounding tissues
- Deliver higher doses of radiation
- Reduce the number of treatment sessions needed
- Decrease patient treatment times from an average of 20 minutes to as few as two minutes
- Treat more patients per day, more efficiently
- Offer more radiation options and methods of treatment including stereotactic radiation therapy
The Elekta Infinity enables us to offer radiation options and methods of treatment that include:
- Stereotactic Radiation Therapy – pinpointing the location and movement of a tumor to synchronize treatment with a patient’s breathing cycle so that high doses of radiation can be delivered directly to it without affecting surrounding healthy tissue.
- Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy – visualizing the targeted tumor at the time of treatment to guide therapy that both maximizes the radiation dose to the target and minimizes exposure to healthy tissues.
- Image-Guided Radiation Therapy – adjusting radiation beams and doses to best fit the size, shape and location of the tumor, while sparing normal tissues.
Brachytherapy is an advanced cancer treatment in which radioactive materials known as seeds or sources are placed directly inside or very near the tumor, giving a high radiation dose to the tumor while reducing the radiation exposure to adjacent healthy tissues.
MedStar Health provides both low-dose rate (LDR) and high-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy. Both procedures deliver appropriate doses of ionizing radiation to the treatment area. We routinely perform the following types of brachytherapy:
- A variety of gynecological implants, both high- and low-dose rate
- Pd-103 seed prostate brachytherapy
- High-dose rate prostate brachytherapy
- Head and neck Iridium-192 brachytherapy
External Beam Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy kills cancer cells using high-energy X-rays. External beam radiation delivers radiation using machines that target the X-rays at your cancer from outside of your body.
Experienced in External Beam Radiation Treatment
MedStar Health cancer experts are skilled in using a variety of advanced external beam radiation methods to attack cancer. We will work with you to determine the treatment method that will be most beneficial for you.
External beam radiation therapies we use include:
- 3D Conformal Radiotherapy: 3D Conformal Radiotherapy is a radiation therapy technique that sculpts radiation beams to the shape of a tumor. This is ideal for tumors that have irregular shapes or for those that are close to healthy tissues and organs. We view a tumor in three dimensions with the help of imaging. Based on the dosimetry or treatment plan, we then deliver radiation beams from several directions to the tumor.
- Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT): This method uses devices that allow the radiation beamlets (tiny beams) to move and change intensity depending on the type of tissue they are targeting. This flexibility allows different areas of a tumor to receive different amounts of radiation and helps protect healthy tissue from unnecessary radiation exposure.
- Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT): IGRT uses high-quality imaging technology to create pictures of a tumor during the radiation procedure. Using these images, your radiation oncology team carefully adjusts radiation beams and doses to best fit the size, shape and location of the tumor, while sparing normal tissues, during your treatment session. IGRT is not a treatment; it is an imaging method that guides the radiation beams to target your tumor.
- Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SBRT), or Radiotherapy: SBRT uses imaging technology to pinpoint the location of a tumor, including its motion, and deliver very high doses of radiation directly to it without affecting surrounding healthy tissue. Since the tumor may move with breathing, we can minimize the area treated by delivering doses in between breaths. This process is called gating.
A customized approach from an expert team
MedStar Montgomery is dedicated to offering the highest level of treatment planning and care to patients. Our radiation oncologists have extensive experience in the use of radiation therapy to treat all types of cancer. Plus, our multidisciplinary team approach to care gives cancer patients access to the area’s top specialists—specialists who work closely with our patients to develop individualized treatment plans that revolve around their specific needs.
We treat a wide range of cancers. The cancers most commonly treated with radiation therapy include:
- Breast (learn more about breast cancer radiation therapy)
- Head and Neck
The specific type of radiation treatment depends on factors such as:
- The type and size of cancer
- Where it is located
- How close it is to normal tissue
- A person’s general health and medical history
- Any other kinds of cancer treatment a patient needs or has received
Because there are different kinds of radiation therapy, all of these factors are taken into account by our experts in the evaluation of every case. As one of four hospitals in the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Network, many patients at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center also benefit from the cancer care expertise of the specialists at our sister facilities without ever leaving our campus.
Make an Appointment
For more information or to schedule an appointment with a radiation therapy specialist, call 301-260-3700.
Awards and Recognitions
The Cancer Care Program at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center has earned accreditation with commendation by the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer continually since 1984.