Low Dose Radiation Los Angeles
“Low Dose” radiation may appeal to some patients looking for alternative treatment options. Clinics that offer “low dose” radiation as an alternative treatment protocol claim to have reduced side effects from radiation because they claim to offer lower radiation doses. While this option may sound appealing, we caution patients to fully understand the proposed treatment. If the opinion or treatment plan of one clinic varies greatly from other opinions that the patient has already sought, it may be a case where it is “too good to be true.”
The modern practice of radiation oncology is based upon radiation biology, and peer-reviewed and published clinical trials. The goal with radiation therapy in the treatment of cancer is to deliver the most effective dose to the cancer, while minimizing the exposure, and thus damage, to the healthy tissue. At The Hyperthermia Cancer Institute, we use the most advanced Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) along with on-board Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT), equipped with respiratory gating technology to make sure we are treating the tumor site, simultaneously accounting for motion during treatment and change in tumor position from day to day, to help ensure that each treatment safely avoids healthy tissues.
We have consulted with patients who had previously been treated with “low dose” radiation, however, their radiation summary reports were astounding in that they received more than double the cumulative dose as they would have if they had been treated with the standard protocols that we employ at our clinic. Their “low dose” claim is based on a lower daily fraction dose than is standard, however they treat patients for 2-3 times the duration of standard protocols. Therefore, the cumulative “low dose” the patient received over the entire treatment cycle was more than double what that patient would have received at our clinic! These patients suffered acute and long term side effects from the over-radiation including the following: rib fractures, fibrosis of the skin and tissues, cessation of menses, pain and tumor metastasis. Unfortunately, because these patients had already received the maximum radiation allowable under clinical guidelines, the patients were left with few treatment options for their metastatic disease.
The image to the left is an anonymized Radiation Summary Report from a clinic that offers “Low Dose Radiation.” As you can see, this actual patient received a total of 87 Fractions of radiation. Her report also stated, “The left breast and axilla received 10,200 cGy in 87 fractions from 12/15/2011 through 4/30/2012.” This was 20 weeks of daily radiation. Compare that to a typical 6-7 week course of radiation at our clinic and at leading cancer centers for this same indication (28-32 Fractions), ranging from a total dose of 5,040 cGy to 6,040 cGy. At The Hyperthermia Cancer Institute, our standard radiation technique employs half the dose of that “Low Dose Clinic,” and 1/3 of the treatment time duration.
Additionally, each day of radiation and other treatments are billable. If the treatment lasts 3 times as long at these “Low Dose Clinics,” costs to you and your insurance company may be 3 times as high.
We urge you to seek multiple opinions when making the important decision of where to receive your care. Use your intuition as you tour different centers and meet with different clinicians. Please ask many questions.
Here are some important questions to ask:
- How long will my total course of treatment be?
- What is the cumulative radiation dose you will give me?
- Is that a standard dose, or above/below the standard dose for my type of cancer/area to be treated?
- What are some of the side effects that I may experience?
- Are there any peer-reviewed, multi-center, published articles that support this treatment method?
We caution patients to seek multiple opinions. We hope that we will be able to help you beat your cancer and restore your health in the safest, most effective means possible. Please call us today to schedule a consultation with our doctors (888) 580-5900 or Fill Out An Online Appointment Request.