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Radiation therapy for cancer

There are many different types of cancer. Each type of cancer is unique in how it grows and how it responds to treatment. One way to stop the cancer from growing is to interfere with the cancer cell’s ability to multiply.

Radiation therapy causes changes in cancer cells that stop their ability to multiply and eventually kills the cancer cells. It may be used alone, or in combination with surgery, chemotherapy, and/or immunotherapy. The most common types of cancer that radiation therapy is used for are brain tumors, head and neck cancers, lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, rectal cancer, cervix and uterine cancers, lymphoma and sarcoma.

Radiation oncologists work closely with other physicians – such as surgical oncologists, other surgeons, internal medicine subspecialists and medical oncologists, as part of the multidisciplinary cancer team. Oncology is concerned with the diagnosis, therapy and followup care of patients with cancer and palliative care of patients with terminal malignancies. Oncologists also focus on the ethical questions of cancer care in conducting population screenings for cancer.

UF Health Radiation Oncology faculty and staff comprise clinicians, medical physicists, research scientists, administrative assistants and other staff all working together to provide superior patient care, create learning experiences for our residents and students and determine new outcomes with cutting-edge oncological research.

Radiation therapy and breast cancer

The latest technology using stereotactic body radiotherapy and radiosurgery is available at UF Health to precisely deliver radiation to specific body sites, resulting in an overall reduction in treatment course time. Real-time motion management is also made possible through integrations with imaging systems, which increases the efficacy of delivering radiotherapy to treatment sites, such as the breast and prostate gland.

UF Health’s recently acquired and most advanced Elekta Versa Accelerator, installed at the UF Health Davis Cancer Pavilion, is capable of tremendous accuracy and precision in delivering radiation therapy to tumors within the human body through its advanced image guided technology. This allows our care team to enhance short-course radiation therapy treatment programs with very selective targeting of tumors, while avoiding healthy tissues and vital organs.

UF Health’s Advanced Linear Accelerator technologies allow our care team to deliver prone breast irradiation using a customized prone breast board. Compared to the conventional treatment position with patients lying in the supine (face upward) position, the prone position increases the distance between the target volume and the lung and heart, thereby reducing radiation toxicity to these critical organs, especially for left-sided breast cancer.

Radiation therapy and prostate cancer

UF Health Radiation Oncology – Davis Cancer Pavilion is now offering advanced MR-based imaging for radiotherapy treatment planning of prostate cancers thanks to the recent installation of a Philips AMBITION 1.5 T MR Simulator and the only Elekta Unity MR Linac in the Southeastern U.S. Experts at the UF Health Cancer Center combine individualized adaptive planning, precision treatment delivery and advanced technologies to minimize side effects and promote quality of life in prostate cancer patients.

Radiation Oncology has combined the use of hydrogel placement and dedicated MRI Simulation for radiotherapy treatment, resulting in a 20-day moderate hypofractionated accelerated course of treatment.

In addition, UF Health Radiation Oncology has offered PLUVICTO, a next generation radiopharmaceutical used in a targeted therapy for progressive, PSMA-positive metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. UF Health Radiation Oncology became the first in the state of Florida to administer it to patients.

Pluvicto can significantly improve survival rates for those who have limited treatment options. Injected in six treatments at staggered intervals, the therapy allows radiation to be targeted to prostate cancer cells — with minimal effects on healthy cells — by binding to PSMA, the protein found on the surface of the cells. During the delivery of Pluvicto, imaging can identify PSMA-positive tumors through a PET scan.

Due to an uptick in world-wide demand, the manufacturer of Pluvicto has announced a supply deficiency of the radiopharmaceutical. As a result, UF Health was required to halt scheduling new patients for treatment with Pluvicto. The supply shortage is expected to be resolved in late 2023.

Receiving treatment with UF Health in Gainesville

For patients from out-of-town, there are many places to stay for either a short or a long stay; Gainesville offers a wide variety of hotels, motels and bed & breakfast inns. Please contact us for a current listing of lodgings that offer discounts to our UF Health Shands Hospital patients. Some also offer shuttle service to our facility for your convenience. You can also visit the Alachua County Visitors Bureau online for a listing of hotels.

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