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Radiation Oncology Blog

A Blog for Radiation Oncology
Date: May 8, 2015

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.