Benign: A disease or tumor that is not cancerous.
Brachytherapy: A form of radiation therapy using a radioactive source(s). Brachytherapy is sometimes referred to as internal radiation. Prostate seed implantation is an example of brachytherapy.
Chemotherapy: Drug therapy used for the treatment of cancer.
CT Scan: Computed Tomography is a diagnostic x-ray study that looks at a patient’s anatomy in cross-section. CT scans are also used in radiation therapy treatment planning.
Dosimetry: The use of specialized computer systems to carefully design a unique treatment plan for a radiation therapy patient. A specially-trained medical dosimetrist performs radiation dosimetry.
External Beam: Radiation treatment delivered to a patient by a sophisticated machine called a linear accelerator. During external beam therapy, the radiation beam is specifically shaped and focused on a cancer. Daily treatment is generally given over a period of weeks.
Gynecologic cancers: Cancers affecting female reproductive organs.
IGRT: Image Guided Radiation Therapy is a revolutionary imaging tool used during the external beam treatment process. IGRT technology allows localization of a tumor on a daily basis in order to optimize the radiation dose to the tumor while sparing as much normal tissue as possible.
IMRT: Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy is a highly complex form of external beam radiation therapy. Not only is the radiation beam shaped to conform to the specific tumor, but also the beam strength is uniquely modified, or modulated, in order to optimize the dose of radiation to the tumor. IMRT requires specialized treatment planning computers and a staff trained in the technique of IMRT.
Linear Accelerator: A complex machine used to generate the high-powered x-rays used in external beam radiation therapy.
Malignant: Refers to cancer.
Medical Oncologist: A physician who specializes in the safe and effective delivery of chemotherapy for the treatment of cancer.
Medical Physicist: A specialized physicist who has expertise in the delivery of radiation therapy, dose calculation, treatment planning and quality assurance of all radiation therapy treatment equipment.
Metastasis: The spread of cancer from its site of origin to another area of the body.
Multi-leaf Collimator (MLC): The MLC is the beam-shaping device within the linear accelerator. Multiple small “leaves” move during a treatment to conform the beam to the shape of the tumor as defined during the treatment planning process.
Palliative therapy: Non-curative therapy aimed at alleviating symptoms such as pain, bleeding and spinal cord compression.
Radiation Oncologist: A physician specializing in Radiation Oncology. A radiation oncologist has board certification in the specific use and safe delivery of radiation for the treatment of cancer.
Radiation Therapist: A specialized radiation technologist who operates the linear accelerator in the treatment of cancer patients.
Stage: A way to describe the extent of the cancer. For example, early stage generally means the cancer has not spread. Late stage implies advanced disease that has spread to other parts of the body.