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  • Neuro-Oncology

  • Advanced Treatments

  • Cyber Knife Suite

    CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery suite

    Radiation Therapy
    The department of radiation oncology offers the most advanced radiation treatments for cancer. Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells and eliminate or shrink tumors. It can be used alone, or in combination with other treatments, such as chemotherapy. Radiation therapy typically uses external beam radiation, using a machine to precisely aim the energy beams at the tumor site, killing cancer cells while preserving healthy tissue as much as possible. Radiation can also be done by placing a radioactive implant in the brain or tumor site.

    The Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only site in Rhode Island that uses the Trilogy Stereotactic System and is the only center in New England to offer both the CyberKnife and gamma knife radiosurgical systems. To treat cancers of the brain, neck, and central nervous system, a physician may recommend one or more of the following treatments, all of which destroy diseased tissue, while preserving normal healthy tissue.

    • The Trilogy Stereotactic System can deliver all forms of external beam radiation to target cancer in the head, neck and body with pinpoint accuracy. The Trilogy system shapes radiation beams to match the shape of the targeted tumor, and automatically makes adjustments for movements as the radiation is delivered, so that patients can breathe normally while undergoing treatment.
    • The gamma knife is a frame-based, precise and powerful tool for treating certain tumors and vascular malformations in the brain, effectively and without surgery, by delivering a single, high dose of gamma radiation.
    • The CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System is a frameless system that effectively treats patients with previously inoperable or surgically complex tumors. It is a highly sophisticated radiosurgery system designed to treat tumors with millimeter accuracy anywhere in the body.

    Learn more about radiation therapy at Rhode Island Hospital

    Chemotherapy uses medications to destroy cancer cells. Certain drugs target cancer cells throughout the body or in separate areas of the brain. Chemotherapy may be administered intravenously, in pill form, or both. The type of chemotherapy drugs and the sequence of treatment are based on the individual requirements of each patient. At the Comprehensive Cancer Center, chemotherapy is administered in an infusion center which has comfortable, private room.

    Recent research on chemotherapeutic agents offers new hope for the treatment of brain cancer. Certain types of tumors appear to be sensitive to cancer-destroying drugs, and survival has increased for patients with the most aggressive types of cancer.

    Immunotherapy/Anti-angiogenesis Therapy
    Immunotherapies are used in combination with chemotherapy or radiation therapy to boost the body's immune response. For example, bevacizumab is a recent immunotherapy (monoclonal antibody) that binds to a receptor on the surface of blood vessels, reversing the inflammatory response that the brain mounts against the tumor. This decreases brain swelling and improves the patient's quality of life. Bevacizumab was approved by the FDA in May 2009 as a treatment for recurrent glioblastomas. Rhode Island Hospital is one of the few institutions in the country participating in an RTOG clinical trial that analyzes the effect of bevacizumab on the treatment of newly diagnosed glioblastomas.

    Treating Neurological Complications of Cancer
    Neurological complications involving both the central and peripheral nervous system, such as stroke, seizure, headache, confusion, myelopathy, myopathy, neuropathy, etc. may result from surgical, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy treatment of systemic cancer. Neurologic problems are relatively common in patients with systemic cancers and the frequency of these complications increases because of aggressive therapies and prolonged patient survival. These complications can be debilitating and their diagnoses can be difficult. Prompt recognition and treatment of these problems can significantly improve patient outcomes. The neuro-oncology team helps determine the cause of neurologic problems and assists in their treatment.