Types of Radiation

External beam radiation therapy

Radiation is directed from a machine outside the body into cancerous cells within the body.  Types of external radiation offered at Mercy:

  • 3D conformal radiation therapy
  • Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT)/Image Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT) – this allows for superior targeting of tumors with more sparing of normal tissue. Our TrueBeam linear accelerator delivers IMRT and utilizes 3D imaging to ensure accurate alignment of the radiation beams throughout the course of treatment. The TrueBeam enables very rapid imaging, which reduces the treatment time to just a few minutes.

Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SABR)

SABR is a specialized form of radiation that delivers a higher dose of radiation using sub-millimeter precision in 1-5 treatments.  It is a treatment option for early stage lung cancer with much higher effectiveness than standard radiation.   The treatment of tumors that move with respiration involves a treatment planning process that uses a 4-dimensional CT scan to assess the tumor motion and enables the use of respiratory gating during the treatment delivery. 

Small tumors in other locations including the spine, liver, and pancreas can receive targeted radiation with SABR as well. Patients who have had prior radiation to a particular area also may qualify for re-treatment with this technique. 

Internal Radiation Therapy

Radioactive material is placed (via a catheter or other carrier) directly into or near a tumor.  This allows for a very precise and targeted treatment to only the affected area, thereby sparing nearby normal tissues and ultimately having fewer side effects.  Types of these services offered at Mercy include:

High Dose Rate Brachytherapy

Examples of cancers that can be treated with high dose brachytherapy include:

  • breast cancer – Partial breast radiation using either the SAVI device or multicatheter brachytherapy is a treatment option for women with early stage breast cancer.  Our radiation oncology team is the only one in the state that offers both of these treatment options.  This treatment is given over 5 days and has fewer side effects than standard radiation.  Mercy is the only cancer center in Oklahoma that offers both of these therapies.  

  • prostate cancer

  • lung cancer

  • gynecologic cancers

  • skin cancer

Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS)

SRS is a proven, non-invasive radiotherapy technique used to deliver highly focused radiation to tumors in the brain and is an alternative to traditional brain surgery.  It can be given in a single outpatient treatment using the Gamma Knife without the post-operative recovery with standard surgery.