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Radiation Oncology: An Effective Treatment Option for Cancer

Thursday, October 26, 2017  
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If you or someone you know has gone through cancer treatments, you may be familiar with radiation oncology. Very simply, it is the use of high-energy radiation to treat cancer.

This treatment option is most commonly used with other specialties including medical oncology (chemotherapy) and surgery.

“When we first see patients in the cancer center our goal is to give them compassionate individualized care. We begin by defining the primary site of the tumor and staging them. Then in our multi-disciplinary tumor board we find the best treatment plan for that patient,” Amit Bhatt, M.D., Ph.D., radiation oncologist at McLaren Greater Lansing said. “Treatment of cancer requires a team approach and this is what ensures our patients receive the best care. Radiation oncologists, surgeons, and medical oncologists are just some of the key people on the health care team working to ensure the best outcomes for patients."

While radiation therapy may be a great option for the treatment of cancer, it also can help with pain management and quality of life.

“Sadly, there are times where a patient might not be curable, the most common reason is when the cancer has spread too far, and we will use radiation for pain or symptomatic relief,” Dr. Bhatt said. “Our goal in these cases is to make the patient comfortable and to preserve their quality of life. We aim to do so in a manner that has minimal impact on the patient and family.”

While radiation therapy has side effects, the treatment itself is pain free. McLaren Greater Lansing uses intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), image guided radiation therapy (IGRT), and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) in order to provide the best outcomes for patients.

“I always tell my patients that there are generally no noticeable side effects day-to-day,” Dr. Bhatt said. “However, you may notice side effects week-to-week, because the radiation related side effects will build up as the treatment progresses.”

Treatment plans are individualized based on clinical trials to maximize outcomes and minimize side affects. The type of cancer a patient has, where it is located, and the stage of cancer define treatment timelines. Treatments can vary from a single treatment to 40 treatments, which are given daily Monday through Friday.

“Our radiation oncology department excels because we are able to work closely with the specialists at the MSU Breslin Cancer Center and Karmonas Cancer Institute, we have access to all of the newest clinical trials and best practices,” Dr. Bhatt said. “We also have a very academic based program here at McLaren Greater Lansing.”

If you are interested in more information or learning more about radiation treatments at McLaren Greater Lansing please call 517-975-7800.

About McLaren Greater Lansing

McLaren Greater Lansing and McLaren Orthopedic Hospital operate the region’s most distinguished cardiovascular and orthopedic surgery programs that—together with McLaren Greater Lansing’s oncology, women’s care and wide-ranging diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical services—consistently lead in clinical quality and efficiency. The hospitals are part of McLaren Health Care, mid-Michigan’s largest health care system. Visit

About McLaren Health Care

McLaren Health Care, headquartered in Flint, Michigan, is a fully integrated health network committed to quality evidence-based patient care and cost efficiency. The McLaren system includes 12 hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, imaging centers, the state’s only proton therapy center, an employed primary care physician network, commercial and Medicaid HMOs covering more than 250,000 lives, home health and hospice providers, retail medical equipment showrooms, pharmacy services, and a wholly owned medical malpractice insurance company. McLaren operates Michigan’s largest network of cancer centers and providers, anchored by the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, one of only 45 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive centers in the U.S. McLaren has 22,000 employees and more than 40,000 network providers. Its operations are housed in more than 350 facilities serving the entire Lower Peninsula of the state of Michigan along with a portion of the Upper Peninsula. Learn more at

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