At VCA Aurora, we understand how stressful it is when your pet has been diagnosed with cancer, and you are suddenly confronted with decisions you will need to make concerning your pet's health care. When considering all of the courses of action you can take for your pet, one important option is radiation therapy. As in treatment for human cancers, radiation therapy has been found to be one of the most effective tools used to combat the disease.
Depending on the type, stage and location of your pet's cancer, radiation therapy may be the only treatment needed - or it may be combined with other treatments.
Together, you and Dr. Sowders, the Radiation Oncologist, will explore the best options for you and your pet. Dr. Sowders will develop a unique treatment plan designed specifically for your pet that will fight cancer while keeping your pet comfortable. Every step of the way, Dr. Sowders and her radiation oncology team are there for both you and your pet, working to give you and your pet the greatest hope of more quality time together.
When Is Radiation Therapy Used?
Radiation therapy is used for tumors that have not spread to other areas of the body; sometimes, it can result in a cure for these localized tumors. Radiation therapy is used to treat cancers that are not affected by chemotherapy. Radiation can be used to shrink tumors prior surgery. It can also be employed after surgery to ensure that any remaining cancer cells are destroyed.
What Kinds of Cancers Respond Well to Radiation Therapy?
• Oral tumors
• Tumors within the nasal cavity
• Brain tumors
• Small skin tumors or scars
• Lymphoma (palliation)
• Osteosarcoma (palliation or stereotactic)
How Is Radiation Therapy Administered?
We are proud to treat our patients using the Halcyon 3D Radiotherapy System
Halcyon 3D technology—the future of radiation therapy—provides our cancer patients with the enhanced effectiveness of higher dose delivery with fewer side effects. With advanced 3D image guidance, a precise scan of your pet's body allows the Halcyon to computer-target even complex lesions with a powerful beam for the minimum length of time required — up to 4 times faster than other radiation systems. The precision beam minimizes surrounding tissue damage for less pain and faster recovery time. This revolutionary technology also reduces the number of treatment sessions and lessens the risk associated with anesthesia.
How Long Does Radiation Treatment Take?
The course of your pet's radiation therapy will depend on the particular cancer, the health of your pet, and the treatment plan that your veterinary team has developed. In general, radiation therapy is given in a series of 15 to 20 daily treatments spanning over a period of 3 to 4 weeks. If stereotactic radiation has been recommended, treatments are typically delivered in 3-5 sessions. Each treatment typically lasts from 5 to 15 minutes. No matter what the schedule, you can be sure it has been carefully planned by a veterinarian who specializes in radiation therapy, also known as the radiation oncologist. In most cases, radiation treatment is performed as an outpatient procedure.