Cancer Radiation Centers

What is Radiation Therapy?

Radiation therapy is one method used to treat cancer, and can be combined with surgery and/or chemotherapy. Radiation therapy uses special kinds of energy waves or particles to fight cancer. Certain levels of radiation work to destroy cancer cells or prevent cells from growing or reproducing.

What type of technology is used to give radiation therapy?

Radiation oncologists use linear accelerators to deliver radiation therapy to cancer patients. Using high energy x-rays, the linear accelerator targets the cancer cells with radiation while sparing surrounding healthy tissue. The linear accelerator’s x-rays are formed into a beam that exactly matches a patient’s tumor area. The beam is delivered through the linear accelerator’s gantry, which rotates around the patient, who lies on a movable treatment couch (or table). To provide the most effective treatment, radiation therapy can be delivered from any angle by moving the gantry and treatment couch.

What radiation therapy services are available at IU Health Cancer Centers Bloomington in south central Indiana?

Indiana University Health provides radiation therapy at two area cancer radiation centers, one in Bloomington and one in Bedford. We have three state-of-the-art linear accelerators with Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT), and onboard imaging that allow us to provide our patients with advanced radiation therapy. IU Health Cancer Services is structured to provide you with multidisciplinary care, meeting the physical, spiritual and educational needs of both patients and their loved ones. We understand that a cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event, and we’re working to change lives for the better everyday.

The IU Health Cancer Radiation Centers in south central Indiana are also home to the Cancer Registry and Clinical Trials. These outpatient centers are designed with patient comfort and access in mind. Nutritional counseling and some medical massage is available at radiation oncology locations.

Varian Clinac iX Technology Gives Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital The Power To See Cancer In A Whole New Way.

The fight against cancer has made a major advance in Indiana. IU Health Bloomington is home to Indiana's first Varian Clinac iX linear accelerators, capable of imaging cancerous tumor treatment areas during the actual process of radiation treatment, a process known as Image-Guided Radiation Therapy, or IGRT. It's onboard imaging that gives doctors the ability to target cancer more accurately and treat it more aggressively, using Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy, or IMRT.

In Focus With IMRT

IMRT—Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy: a noninvasive technique that delivers tightly focused radiation beams to destroy cancer without needles, tubes or catheters.

IMRT uses computer-generated images to sharply focus beams of X-ray energy that conform as precisely as possible to the outlined shape of the tumor treatment area. The increased precision of IMRT minimizes the amount of radiation exposure to healthy tissues surrounding the cancer.

Doctors are able to use higher doses of radiation, which increases the likelihood of successful treatment. The lower exposure to healthy surrounding tissues helps reduce the possible side effects of radiation treatment.

IGRT Tracks Cancer In Real Time

IGRT—Image-Guided Radiation Therapy: precise, computer generated images guide the radiation beam shape and delivery. Onboard imaging allows for integrated, ongoing treatment.

IGRT technology combines real-time imaging capability with the precise radiation control of IMRT. With previous technology, doctors made X-ray and CT images before and during treatment, but cancer can be a moving target. Whenever a patient moves during the treatment process, so will the cancer. Our new linear accelerators have advanced X-ray and CT imaging built in. The onboard imaging systems allow physicians to visualize cancer in real time, more accurately than ever before.