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Differing quality of radiation therapy?


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My Dad is about to start radiation therapy in Middle Georgia.  I've had a couple of RNs and other folks comment that we ought to consider the Cancer Treatment Center of America in Atlanta (CTCA) up the road for treatment.  I assume chemo is chemo as long as the proper drugs are administered, but technology in targeted delivery could make a difference in radiation therapy.  Does anybody have strong opinions on how much the quality of radiation therapy could possibly vary from a local provider and the CTCA?  I can find frustratingly little information on how to even start evaluating the differences in quality of specific therapies at different institutions.  The CTCA would be an hour and half drive one way.  Hence, it would be quite inconvenient and tiring for someone who is sick. A clear benefit would need to be present.

Does CTCA have a good reputation in the lung cancer community? My first instinct would be to go to an NCI center at Emory University Hospital for a step up in treatment, but I have no information on which to base that opinion.

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I'm assuming your dad is going to receive External Beam Radiation Therapy. (EBRT) (I've linked a short explanation of this that may be useful).  This type of radiation has been in use for many, many years.  So, any reputable cancer treatment facility should be able to administer it with equal effect.  There is a second type of radiation called Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) [also called CyberKnife or Cyber Surgery] that is more sophisticated and administered as an alternative to surgery.  If your dad is to receive this form of radiation, it is generally administered at a large cancer treatment center because of the sophisticated diagnostics and thoracic implants required prior to the procedure.  Unlike EBRT, SBRT treatment consists of perhaps 3 - 15 minute sessions conducted over a period of 3 days.  

We can't endorse or recommend specific providers but I would recommend you search Google for insight into the reputation of both CTCA and Emory as cancer treatment facilities.

Be mindful of the fact that EBRT is normally administered once per day for five-days-per-week for six weeks.  Putting your dad into a car and driving 3 hours a day to receive EBRT, a very common treatment method, would be for me a bridge too far.

Stay the course.


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  • 2 months later...

Although radiation therapy is also sometimes used for nonmalignant issue, including benign brain tumors and inflammatory conditions, it is devoted to its use in treating cancer, as this is its main medical application. At the end of some sections there are introductions to recent developments that have been covered by MNT's news stories.




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