Spinal Cancer Radiation Therapy, Treatment & Side Effects
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Video: Radiation TherapyLearn about radiation therapy
CTCA radiation oncologist Dr. Bernard Eden describes the different types of radiation therapies we use to target cancer cells while minimizing damage to normal tissues.
Radiation Therapy for Spinal Cancer
Many spinal cancer patients at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) receive radiation therapy as part of their individualized treatment plan. This form of therapy uses high-energy rays to destroy tumor cells and to relieve symptoms, like pain, caused by a spinal tumor.
Our expert radiation oncologists use highly-targeted delivery systems that allow us to increase the dose and precision of radiation to a spinal tumor, while minimizing damage to healthy tissue.
Spinal cancer radiation therapy is commonly used following surgical resection of a tumor, to destroy any microscopic tumor cells left behind. It may also be an option for metastatic spinal tumors (tumors that have spread to the spine from another part of the body).
Spinal Cancer Radiation Therapy Options
The specifics of your radiation regime will be based on several factors, including the type and size of the spinal tumor and the extent of disease.
External beam radiation therapy (EBRT), in which radiation comes from a machine outside of the body, is commonly used for spinal cancer. The area radiated typically includes the tumor and an area surrounding the tumor. For metastatic spinal tumors, radiation is sometimes given to the entire spine.
Depending on your personal treatment plan and the grade of your tumor, your team may also consider the following spinal cancer radiation therapy options:
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
- Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS)
- Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT)
Addressing Spinal Cancer Radiation Therapy Side Effects
Depending on your radiation dose, site, and other factors, you may experience some side effects of radiation therapy, including fatigue, hair loss, skin irritation, and nerve damage.
To minimize the side effects of radiation and help you maintain your strength and quality of life, your care team at CTCA will proactively work with you to develop effective solutions based on your needs. For example, we may prescribe steroids to help reduce swelling, or blood thinners to dissolve blood clots and prevent them from traveling into the lungs.
You’ll also receive supportive therapies like nutrition therapy, naturopathic medicine, pain management, oncology rehabilitation, and mind-body medicine. These therapies help to keep you strong so you can continue treatment while maintaining your quality of life.
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