Cancer Care and Radiation

Comprehensive Cancer Centers knows how important radiation and radiosurgery are in treating patients with cancer. In order to provide our patients with the best care possible, the practice offers advanced technology, including radiation therapy and radiosurgery (CyberKnife®). The following explains these technologies, along with how they are used in patient care:

How Radiation Therapy is Used to Treat Cancer

Radiation therapy is the primary treatment modality in many cancers. Head and neck cancers are a good example. Radiation alone without chemotherapy is highly effective in small and medium sized oropharyngeal and laryngeal carcinomas, preserving voice and swallowing function while treating the cancer. Similarly, prostate cancer can be successfully treated with radiation. Patients with small cancers, as well as those who have locally advanced prostate cancer, have an increased risk of incontinence and impotence after a radical prostatectomy. By combining hormone therapy, external beam radiation, or internal beam radiation (brachytherapy), continence and erectile function can usually be maintained.

Preoperative therapy is another way to use radiation, and it is typically given with chemotherapy to shrink tumors so that surgery can be more effective. The best example of this is in gastrointestinal cancers when patients have large rectal malignancies. Surgery alone would require removal of the anus and a colostomy. With preoperative chemotherapy and radiation, the tumor can be removed but function is preserved.

Radiation can also play a vital role after surgery. For breast cancer, radiation is almost always used after a lumpectomy to treat potential microscopic extensions of the disease. It’s also important for mastectomy patients. Originally, radiation was only recommended for those with four or more positive nodes. However, clinical trials have shown patients with one to three positive nodes may also benefit. In other malignancies, like gastrointestinal cancers, radiation is utilized after surgery and chemotherapy to sterilize nodes or extensions of cancer cells.

Lastly, radiation is highly effective for palliation for large tumors obstructing bronchi, pushing on the spinal cord, or growing into bone or nerves, resulting in decreased function or pain.

How Radiosurgery is Part of a Cancer Treatment Plan

Radiosurgery, in form of CyberKnife®, is a painless, non-invasive cancer surgery alternative that uses computer-operated robotics and image guidance technology to treat hard-to-reach tumors. It tracks and destroys tumors in the body or brain while accounting for the patient’s breathing.

This technology can also re-treat patients who were previously treated with radiation. According to the International Radiosurgery Association (IRSA), body radiosurgery treatments are rare without this advanced technology.

Unlike conventional radiation therapy treatments, CyberKnife® is designed to respond to the movement of the tumor as a result of respiration or other involuntary bodily functions. During treatment, CyberKnife® continually calibrates your tumor’s position through a unique combination of real-time imaging and intelligent tumor tracking – remaining on target throughout treatment.

As a result of its advanced tumor tracking technology, CyberKnife® does not require invasive procedures or uncomfortable stereotactic frames to be bolted to a patient’s skull. Patients lie back and relax while the CyberKnife® robotic arm moves around your body, targeting radiation at your tumor.

Las Vegas CyberKnife® at Summerlin was made possible through a partnership between Comprehensive Cancer Centers’ radiation oncologists, Select HealthCare Solutions and Summerlin Hospital. The treatment machine is located at the Comprehensive’s radiation oncology office located on the campus of Summerlin Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians at Comprehensive provide a variety of treatment options for patients with cancer in Nevada using radiation and radiosurgery. For certain patients, clinical research studies conducted at Comprehensive Cancer Centers may offer help, please click here to learn more. To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350.


The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.