Gastrointestinal Cancer - Radiation Therapy
Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment at UCLA
- Depending on the location and stage of your cancer - chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy may be given before or after surgery.
- For rectal cancer, radiation therapy is usually given with chemotherapy. It can be given before or after surgery
External Beam Radiation Therapy
External beam radiation therapy involves a series of daily outpatient treatments to accurately deliver radiation to the area at risk. The radiation beam comes from a machine called a linear accelerator or linac.
- Before beginning treatment, you will be scheduled for an appointment (called a simulation) to map out the area being treated. This will involve having a CT scan. You will also receive tiny marks on your skin, like a tattoo, to help the therapists precisely position you for daily treatment.
- To minimize side effects, the treatments are given five days a week, Monday through Friday. This allows doctors to get enough radiation into your body to kill the tumor while giving healthy cells time to recover each day.
- At UCLA we use technologies such as 3-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT), intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), and stereotactic body radiation (SBRT) to maximize accuracy and local control of the tumor. Ask your radiation oncologist for more information on these treatments.
Our Expert Radiation Oncologists
The following UCLA Radiation Oncologists specialize in treatment of gastrointestinal cancer: