Radiation Therapy for Rectal Cancer

Radiation therapy uses high-powered X-rays, seeds or radioactive material to shrink or destroy your tumor.
Image Guidance Makes Targeting Tumors More

At Scott & White, we use Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) during the course of our radiation oncology treatments in areas of the body that are prone to movement. IGRT is the use of frequent imaging during your radiation therapy treatment to ensure absolute accuracy of treatment.

Benefits of IGRT include:

  • Patient and tumor motion tracked with the use of image guidance
  • Radiation beam adjusted in response to current tumor image to maintain accuracy and reduce likelihood of harming nearby tissue
  • Helps target tumors to sub-millimeter accuracy
  • Features computerized robotic delivery and stereotactic localization imaging
  • Requires an imaging series, which is transferred to computer, before treatment begins
  • Used in conjunction with IMRT, 3DCRT and stereotactic radiotherapy

For more information, see Image-Guided Radiation Therapy on RadiologyInfo.org.


Abdominal Compression Further Increases Accuracy

At Scott & White, radiation therapy for rectal cancer may include the use of an abdominal compression device for areas of the body that are prone to movement. This helps ensure you're properly positioned during treatment, thereby increasing its effectiveness.

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What we are doing right now with radiation therapy is changing the paradigm of cancer care with all the newer evidence-based research and practice of medicine. We’re offering a bigger chance of cure for every single patient when they come in the doors of Scott & White for any of the GI cancers, as opposed to what it would have been 5 or 10 years ago.

Nitika Thawani, MD, Radiation Oncologist

Scott & White’s Approach

Scott & White’s mission to provide personalized, comprehensive care is the foundation for our radiation therapy program.

Our approach at Scott & White is in individualizing therapy. “We calculate your dosage cloud so that it will look exactly like the shape of your tumor,” says Nitika Thawani, MD, Radiation Oncology.

Our radiation oncologists take meticulous care in determining the precise radiation therapy protocol for you. Several factors impact their decision, including the type, location and stage of your specific tumor and your overall medical condition.

How Radiation Therapy Is Used to Treat Cancer

Your Integrated Care Team may recommend radiation therapy for your rectal cancer.

Traditionally, the role for radiation therapy for GI cancers has been to use radiation therapy after surgery. However, the approach has recently changed.  The approach is now for organ preservation. At Scott & White, radiation therapy plays an important role in saving the functional capacity of your organs.

In some cases, your Integrated Care Team may recommend radiation therapy combined with chemotherapy prior to surgery for your rectal cancer. Radiation therapy is sometimes used in conjunction with chemotherapy to reduce the size of your tumor enough for your surgeon to get a good outcome with surgery. This kind of radiation therapy is called neoadjuvant therapy.

Radiation therapy in some cases is also used:

  • For tumors that have returned after surgery.
  • In conjunction with chemotherapy after surgery to help destroy any remaining cancer cells. This kind of radiation therapy is called adjuvant therapy.

Re-Irradiation for Rectal Cancer

Your physician team may recommend re-irradiation for your rectal cancer. At Scott & White, we offer radiation therapy at the same site in the event your initial treatment is unsuccessful or if your rectal cancer returns.

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Types of Radiation Therapy

Types of Radiation Therapy

Scott & White offers the following types of radiation therapy to treat rectal cancer:

Side Effects of Radiation Therapy

Each radiation therapy approach is different and each person’s reaction to it can vary. At Scott & White, your radiation oncologist will see you through treatment and help you manage any side effects.

For more information about side effects, please talk to your radiation oncologist.


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