Radiation Treatments

Arizona Oncology is an ASTRO-accredited facility for Radiation Oncology Services

Arizona Oncology is committed to providing the latest and most advanced radiation therapy treatments available at our locations throughout the stateRead more about Arizona Oncology’s Four-Year Accreditation for Radiation Oncology Services from ASTRO’s Accreditation Program for Excellence (APEx®)

There are two types of radiation therapy – external beam and brachytherapy which is placed inside the body for a specific period of time. Learn more about these types of radiation therapy:

External Beam Radiation Therapy

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

This therapy uses computer-generated images and treatment planning to deliver high doses of radiation to a tumor, while minimizing the amount of radiation to normal, surrounding tissues. Numerous beam angles are used to shape the radiation dose to the specific size and shape of the tumor. This higher dose to the tumor can result in a higher possibility of cure, and a lower dose to surrounding healthy tissue resulting in fewer side effects.

We can now deliver IMRT with an even higher degree of sophistication and conformality with a technique called volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT).  IMRT is intensity modulated radiotherapy.  This is a technique which uses sophisticated computer planning to “dose paint”, allowing the radiation oncologist to customize radiation treatment to each patient’s disease and normal anatomy.

Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)

A procedure that uses a computer to create a picture of a tumor to help guide the radiation beam during radiation therapy. The pictures are taken immediately before each daily radiation treatment using CT, ultrasound, X-ray, or other imaging techniques to improve targeting accuracy. Image-guided radiation therapy makes radiation therapy more accurate and causes less damage to healthy tissue.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS)

A type of external radiation therapy that uses special equipment to position the patient and precisely deliver radiation to a tumor. The total dose of radiation may be divided into several smaller doses given over several days or even given in a single dose on one day. Stereotactic radiosurgery is used to treat brain tumors and other brain disorders. It is also being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer, such as lung cancer. When stereotactic treatments are used outside of the brain, they are commonly referred to as SBRT (stereotactic body radiation therapy)

Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)

This therapy is a type of external radiation therapy that uses special equipment to position a patient and precisely deliver radiation to tumors in the body.  Very high doses of precisely targeted and focused radiation are given to ablate, or kill smaller cancers most commonly in the lung and liver although occasionally in other organs.  The total dose of radiation is given over just a few days. This type of radiation therapy helps spare normal tissue.

Palliative Radiation

Although radiation is a local treatment, meaning it only acts where it is aimed, it is still commonly used for patients who have cancers which have spread.  Our radiation oncologists use radiation to palliate symptoms caused by cancer, whether in its’ primary site or another site to which it has spread.  The primary purpose is to manage symptoms and side effects of cancer.   For instance, a short course of radiation can commonly palliate, or relieve, pain from cancer spread to bones, or help with breathing difficulties or bleeding caused by cancers.  These palliative treatments can significantly help with quality of life.


High Dose Rate Brachytherapy (HDR)

This therapy uses a radioactive source that is placed inside the body part to be treated. Then, a high dose of radiation is given to a limited area, sparing the surrounding normal tissue. HDR brachytherapy lasts only a few minutes in the outpatient setting and causes little discomfort, fewer complications, and a more rapid recovery time.  By placing the radiation close to the cancer, we are able to minimize any dose received by uninvolved tissue.  HDR brachytherapy is commonly used in gynecologic cancer treatment.

Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI)

Breast brachytherapy is a newer option in the delivery of radiation treatment for women with early-stage breast cancer. This is typically done as a twice a day treatment, morning and afternoon, for 5 days.  Arizona Oncology Radiation is designated as a Center of Excellence in accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) for offering this advanced technology. Breast brachytherapy is an approach that uses radiation placed within a balloon inside the lumpectomy cavity to treat the cavity and the surrounding tissue from within the breast and is one way APBI is commonly performed.

Low Dose Rate, Permanent Interstitial Prostate Seed Implant

Radioactive sources that are placed inside the prostate to destroy cancer cells.  Prostate implants, or brachytherapy, can be used as the only treatment (monotherapy) for lower risk prostate cancers, or can be delivered as a boost after external beam radiotherapy to increase the dose to the prostate for higher risk prostate cancers.  This technique allows extremely high doses of radiation to be contained within the prostate without allowing significant doses to surrounding organs.

Learn more about Prostate Brachytherapy using seed implants:


SpaceOAR® Hydrogel

Placed between the prostate and rectum,  SpaceOAR® Hydrogel reduces rectal injury in men receiving prostate cancer radiation therapy by acting as a spacer – pushing the rectum away from the prostate, out of the high dose radiation region.