RapidArc™ Radiation Therapy
New Jersey Urology Cancer Treatment Centers utilize the RapidArc™ Radiotherapy system. The RapidArc™ system uses new technology that directs an exact dosage of radiation with unsurpassed precision, delivering treatments at up to eight times the speed of conventional radiation systems. The average treatment is over in less than two minutes.
Although RapidArc™ radiation therapy is extremely effective against some cancers, different conditions may require different approaches. Your care team will determine if the RapidArc™ system is the right answer for you.
The Science of Radiation Therapy
The principle behind radiation therapy is that while cancer cells reproduce more quickly than healthy cells, cancer cells cannot easily repair themselves, but healthy cells can. Therefore, by directing a concentrated beam of radiation at an afflicted area, we can stop the growth of cancer while minimizing harm to healthy tissue.
The keys to effective radiation treatment are:
- Having a comprehensive radiation plan designed by an experienced physician.
- Precisely targeting the cancerous tissue.
- Keeping treatments brief and frequent to minimize healthy tissue damage.
- Maintaining the precision of your instruments.
The RapidArc™ system represents a significant improvement over conventional radiotherapy systems in terms of precise targeting, exact dosing, and speed of treatment. It is also an “external beam” treatment, which is the least intrusive therapy option for treating cancer.
Minimizing the Side Effects of Radiation Therapy
SpaceOAR hydrogel is an option for men who undergo radiation treatment for prostate cancer. It acts as a spacer providing space between the rectum and the prostate, making it much less likely that the rectum is exposed to radiation. It is injected into place prior to the start of radiation treatment. Patients may be awake or asleep under general anesthesia for the procedure. SpaceOAR hydrogel is minimally invasive, remains stable during radiation therapy and then is gradually absorbed by the body after radiation therapy has been completed.
Dr. Glen Gejerman, Medical Director of Radiation Oncology at New Jersey Urology, speaks with Ed Randall on WFAN Sports Radio to discuss the benefits of using SpaceOAR hydrogel during prostate cancer treatment.
Meet Our Team of Radiation Oncologists
Our mission is to provide state-of-the-art treatment and compassionate, personalized care as we partner together through every step of our patients’ cancer treatment.
Cancer Treatment Centers
The Cancer Treatment Centers at New Jersey Urology offer the most advanced radiation oncology services in state-of-the-art facilities for the most effective cancer treatment.
1515 Broad Street, Suite 120
Bloomfield, NJ 07003
P: (973) 873-7000
F: (973) 873-7025
2090 Springdale Road, Suites B & D
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
P: (856) 751-9010
F: (856) 751-3243
570 South Avenue East, Building A
Cranford, NJ 07106
P: (908) 603-4201
F: (908) 497-1633
3311 Brunswick Pike
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
P: (609) 716-7030
F: (609) 716-7003
160 Pehle Avenue
Saddle Brook, NJ 07663
P: (201) 881-1000
F: (201) 226-0398
Patient Success Stories
Meet Michael, Prostate Cancer Survivor
Mr. Michael Secli, a prostate cancer survivor, describes his journey through radiation treatment along with participating in an immunotherapy clinical trial – all provided through New Jersey Urology’s state-of-the-art Advanced Cancer Treatment Center. Hear from his urologic oncologist, Dr. Glen Gejerman, as he explains the treatment options and the science behind immunotherapy treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many cancer patients share the same questions and concerns. Below is a list of frequently asked questions and answers we’ve compiled based on the subjects that matter most to our patients.
Compared to other cancer treatment methods, external beam radiation therapy tends to cause fewer and less severe side effects. The treatment itself is quick and painless. However, as with any cancer treatment, side effects are reported by some patients during or after treatment. These may include:
- Temporary urinary frequency
- Loss of urine control
- Discomfort or difficulty urinating
- The appearance of blood in the urine, feces or semen
In most cases, these symptoms are short-lived. Your physician will explain the likelihood of experiencing these side effects and how long they may last.
To date, no randomized studies have shown that surgery is more effective than external beam radiation in terms of treating cancer. The decision to undergo one treatment approach over another centers around eligibility for each approach as well as the side effects of each treatment approach.
RapidArc is the most advanced form of intensity modulated external beam radiation therapy (IMRT). RapidArc therapy is delivered in a fraction of the time of other IMRT delivery systems in a highly conformal approach. During a RapidArc treatment, the linac’s gantry makes one full revolution while the radiation beam is delivered. The RapidArc treatment is significantly more targeted and precise which reduces treatment times and radiation exposure for the patient.
Most patients receive about 40 daily treatments over an eight week period. The exact number of treatments will vary depending on the type of cancer, size and scope of radiation fields, and the risk of side effects.
No, patients undergoing daily external beam radiation treatments are not made radioactive. There is also no radiation exposure risk to the people around you.
While destroying and slowing the growth of cancer cells, radiation may also damage healthy cells. Healthy cells almost always recover after treatment, but in cases where cell damage is permanent, patients may experience side effects that do not improve over time. Doctors try to protect healthy cells during treatment by:
- Calculating the lowest possible effective dose of radiation.
- Delivering shorter treatments over a longer period to give healthy cells time to recover.
- Spreading out the dose of radiation, allowing healthy cells to recover while cancer cells die.
- Aiming radiation precisely at the affected area. The RapidArc system at NJU’s Cancer Treatment Centers are considered state-of-the-art in accuracy and dosage efficiency.
The radiation treatment process is painless. However, the side effects of radiation treatment can be uncomfortable. If you experience pain during or after your treatment, please speak with a member of your care team who will recommend ways to manage or reduce your discomfort.
Continuing to work or attend school during radiation therapy is an individual decision. Depending on the radiation dosage and the nature of your work, you may feel strong enough to continue working during treatment. However, you may need to manage your workload or stop working at some point as treatment progresses.
Your body uses a lot of energy to heal during radiation therapy. It is important that you eat enough calories and protein to maintain your weight during this time. Ask your doctor or nurse if you need to maintain a special diet during radiation therapy.
Some studies indicate that regular moderate exercise may help manage the fatigue associated with radiation treatments. Discuss the type and amount of exercise that is appropriate for your condition with your NJU care team.
When radiation treatment ends, medical care will continue in the form of follow-up appointments with your radiation oncologist or nurse practitioner. During these appointments, your doctor or nurse will monitor the effectiveness of your treatment, check for cancer symptoms and late side effects, and continue to talk with you about your treatment and care.
Based on the results of your follow up appointments, your physician or nurse may recommend further testing or additional treatments. Prior to follow-up appointments, it’s a good idea to write down questions or concerns so you will remember to discuss them with your NJU care team.