Radiation therapy is a commonly used treatment for rectal cancer. This treatment involves the use of high-energy beams to destroy cancerous cells. Radioactive materials can be directed at a tumor from a machine located outside a patient’s body (external beam radiation therapy) or temporarily implanted near a tumor in the form of a small pellet (brachytherapy).
Radiation therapy can be a primary treatment for rectal cancer, or it can be combined with one or more other treatments. For instance, a radiation oncologist may recommend:
- Providing radiation therapy and chemotherapy at the same time – an approach known as chemoradiation – to make the radiation therapy potentially more effective
- Administering radiation therapy before surgery to make a tumor smaller and easier to remove while simultaneously lowering the chance of recurrence
- Combining radiation therapy with other supportive care treatments to alleviate bowel obstruction and other symptoms in situations where a tumor cannot be surgically removed
To determine the best approach to rectal cancer radiation therapy for each patient, Moffitt Cancer Center’s radiation oncologists work closely with a number of other skilled professionals, including surgeons, medical oncologists, physicists, dosimetrists, radiation therapists and supportive care providers. These professionals all have extensive experience in treating cancers of the colon and rectum, allowing us to expertly tailor a treatment plan to each patient’s unique needs.
Our radiation therapy team not only determines when and how radiation treatment should be provided, but also how to minimize exposure to healthy tissues. For instance, we utilize some of the most technologically advanced planning and simulation techniques available to carefully shape the X-rays and limit the amount of radiation that comes in contact with the tissues surrounding a tumor. In this way, our highly skilled providers not only help patients achieve the best possible outcomes, but also obtain the highest possible quality of life throughout treatment.
For more information about rectal cancer radiation therapy, contact Moffitt Cancer Center. No referral is required to consult with our radiation oncologists. To schedule an appointment, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online.