Providing Advanced Noninvasive Treatment for Cancer and Benign Tumors
When faced with a difficult diagnosis, it's natural to feel anxiety about what comes next. At SLUCare Radiation Oncology, you're in good hands. Our experienced team treats a wide range of cancers and tumors, applying proven treatments using the latest technologies. Rest assured, our experts will take the time to discuss your concerns and guide you through every step of the process.
Our board-certified radiation oncologists work closely with SLUCare surgeons, medical oncologists, and other specialists, including the pediatric team with the nationally ranked Bob Costas Cancer Center at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital. Together, we collaborate to build personalized treatment plans for adult and pediatric patients with cancer and/or benign conditions.
As part of an academic medical practice, we offer innovative treatment options not typically found at community hospitals. Our advanced radiation techniques, such as stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), may even be used as an alternative to surgery. Our team will listen to your questions and explain the best treatment options available to you.
SLUCare Radiation Oncology Services
- Bladder cancer
- Bone/muscle cancers (sarcomas)
- Brain and spine cancer
- Breast cancer
- Central nervous system cancer
- Colon and rectal cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Gallbladder cancer
- Head and neck cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Leukemia and lymphoma
- Liver cancer
- Lung cancer
- Men's cancers (prostate, testicular, penile)
- Multiple myeloma and plasmacytomas
- Pancreatic cancer
- Pediatric cancers
- Skin cancer (including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanomas)
- Stomach cancer
- Thoracic cancers (including mesothelioma and thymus)
- Benign conditions, such as meningiomas, AVMs, acoustic neuromas, and trigeminal neuralgia
In the Center for Radiation Medicine, you will meet with a SLUCare radiation oncologist who will develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your diagnosis. Our team will arrange and schedule any additional testing that may be needed. You may also meet with other specialists involved in your care, such as nurses, radiation therapists, dieticians, and other support workers.
To help us plan for your radiation treatment, our team will perform a scan known as a “CT simulation.” During this process, you will be set up in a comfortable position that will be used later at the time of your radiation treatments. The information collected in this scan helps us carefully target the areas that will receive radiation.
Before your CT simulation, we may require that you prepare in advance by filling or emptying your stomach, bladder or rectum. Additionally, at the time of the CT simulation, devices may be used to optimize radiation planning, such as face masks, vacuum bags/cushions, and abdominal compression. These processes will be explained to you at the time of your initial consultation.
After the CT simulation, you will receive a schedule of your radiation therapy appointments and instructions on how to prepare for these visits.
Radiation therapy is highly effective and works by damaging the DNA of cancer cells with X-rays. Radiation treatments are separated into multiple outpatient visits and are usually delivered once per day, Monday through Friday. Treatments are noninvasive, pain-free and typically last less than 15 minutes. The total number of treatment visits depends on your specific diagnosis.
Traditional therapies can last 6 to 8 weeks, but newer studies in hypofractionation have allowed treatment courses to be reduced to between 1 and 4 weeks for select cancers. Treatments may be solely radiation, combined with surgery, or occur during or between chemotherapy cycles. For patients who have been treated with radiation previously, reirradiation may be possible in some cases. Our team can help you determine whether this is an option for you.
SLUCare radiation oncologists take every measure to target your tumor with the desired dose as accurately as possible. We use advanced techniques, such as image guidance, arc therapy (delivering radiation from multiple angles), and tracking of breathing motion to minimize radiation exposure to surrounding organs and tissues.
SRS and SBRT are precise methods of delivering ablative (high-dose) radiation therapy. In some situations, these techniques may even be used as an alternative to surgery. Because larger radiation doses are used in SRS/SBRT treatments, five or fewer visits are needed to complete a course of therapy.
SRS/SBRT may be used to treat a variety of cancers, including brain, spine, lungs, prostate, kidneys, lymph nodes and bones. These technologies can also be used to treat benign tumors and conditions, including reirradiation of a previously treated area, as a safer alternative to traditional radiation.
SLUCare physicians are actively involved in clinical research. We participate in select national studies with industry-sponsored trials and national groups like NRG Oncology and Children's Oncology Group. If you would like information about current clinical trials, ask your SLUCare radiation oncologist.
In addition to the care offered through radiation oncology, SLUCare patients may access a variety of additional programs and services, including smoking cessation counseling, pastoral care, dietitian services, social work, physical therapy, valet parking and more. Please tell our team about any specific symptoms or concerns you may have, and we will work with you to find a solution.