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Radiation Oncology Blog

A Blog for Radiation Oncology
Date: May 2015

Available at MUSC Hollings Cancer Center in downtown Charleston, TrueBeamTM STx offers patients an advanced radiation treatment that may minimize interruption to normal daily lifestyles, with treatment sessions lasting about 20 minutes or less.

Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is one type of treatment TrueBeam STx is capable of delivering. Patients treated with SBRT receive one to five outpatient treatments and can return to their regular activities immediately following each session. The accuracy of treatment may reduce side effects associated with other forms of treatment. Learn more about the top benefits in the infographic below.

Benefits of TrueBeam Technology

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, it accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the United States. More than 3.5 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. More than 73,000 cases of melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, are expected to be diagnosed in 2015.

Designated by the American Academy of Dermatology, May is National Melanoma Skin Cancer Prevention Month. It aims to raise awareness about skin cancer, the importance of early detection and treatment options if diagnosed. Screening options for skin cancer can include self-examinations or whole body skin examinations. Screening recommendations vary for patients of different ages, so consulting with your doctor on what is appropriate for your individual needs is best.

For patients facing a melanoma diagnosis, Hollings Cancer Center offers several treatment options, including Gamma Knife, intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), TomoTherapy and brachytherapy.

MUSC's Jenny Sullivan Sanford Melanoma & Skin Cancer Program is the only program dedicated to advanced melanoma care in South Carolina. It is designated as a Melanoma Center of Excellence (MCE) by the Melanoma Hope Network — one of fewer than 20 programs with this designation in the United States.

Contact us to learn more or schedule a consultation.

The 16th annual National Women's Health Week is celebrated May 10-16, 2015. The goal is to empower women to make their health a priority and to learn about steps they can take to improve their health.

National Women's Health Week

A disease that has touched the lives of millions of women and their families, breast cancer is one important women’s health issue. It is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancers. According to the American Cancer Society’s 2015 cancer statistics for the United States:

  • About 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.
  • About 60,290 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is noninvasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
  • About 40,290 women will die from breast cancer.

A premier destination for comprehensive breast care, Hollings Cancer Center offers a number of services and treatments for breast cancer.

One treatment option for patients is partial breast irradiation, also known as limited-field radiation therapy. The most widely practiced method of partial breast irradiation is breast brachytherapy. At MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, this treatment is deployed with MammoSite technology. The therapy minimizes radiation exposure to healthy tissue, and the course of treatment is five days as opposed to six to seven weeks with the standard treatment method.

Contact us to learn more about the comprehensive breast care program at Hollings or test your knowledge with our breast cancer quiz.

National Cancer Research MonthMay is honored as National Cancer Research Month by the American Association for Cancer Research to acknowledge innovative and progressive research in the cancer field.

Hollings Cancer Center at MUSC is a renowned cancer research center in the U.S. As South Carolina's only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer center, it is one of fewer than 70 NCI centers nationally.

With more than $43 million in research funding and 120 nationally recognized scientists, Hollings Cancer Center provides an environment and infrastructure that facilitates robust research focused on novel approaches to eradicating cancer.

Hollings Cancer Center has well over 300 active clinical trials, about 200 of which are enrolling patients. Clinical trials are research studies that involve people. Each study tries to answer scientific questions and seeks to identify better ways to prevent, diagnose or treat cancer. Clinical trials have guidelines for who can participate, and each trial is unique with its own set of criteria. Generally, participants are alike in key ways, such as the type and stage of cancer, age, gender or other factors.

For a list of clinical trials at MUSC and more information on common patient questions associated with clinical trial participation, click here.

At MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, our multidisciplinary cancer care team works to educate and inform patients to help them navigate their cancer diagnosis and treatment with as little stress as possible.

Patient Resources

Patients coping with a cancer diagnosis may hear unfamiliar medical terms related to their disease and its treatment. We have spotlighted three common cancer treatment terms below and provided brief definitions of each.

  • Ablation or Ablative: Refers to surgical removal of tissue. When discussing advanced radiation therapy techniques like Gamma Knife or TrueBeam STx, ablation refers to the process of destroying and killing cancer cells with high-dose, precisely targeted radiation. You may hear a physician say Gamma Knife delivers “ablative doses of radiation to a tumor” when discussing treatment of brain tumors.
  • Local Control: Refers to cancer that hasn’t grown and progressed and remains at the original tumor site. Radiation is used for local control of cancer cells at the site of the tumor.
  • 5-Year Survival Rate: Refers to the percentage of patients who are alive at least 5 years after their cancer diagnosis. Many of these people live much longer than 5 years after diagnosis, but the 5-year rate is used as a standard way to discuss a patient’s prognosis, or outlook for survival.

Learn more about treatment on our FAQs page.