The Bismarck Cancer Center (BCC) allows patients in our area to receive state-of-the-art cancer treatment and caring support while staying close to home and loved ones. We have a highly-skilled and compassionate team of radiation therapists, medical physicists, nurses and dosimetrists working with your radiation oncologist to care for you during your treatment.
Dictionary of Cancer Terms
 
 

FREQUENTLY USED TERMS

Applicator: A device used to hold a radioactive source in place during brachytherapy. 

Blocks: Pieces of metal alloy that can be used to shape the radiation beam. Also called cerrobend block. 

Boost: A part of your treatment plan that is given after an initial course of radiation. A boost is generally a smaller treatment field that receives the same daily dose as the initial course. Not all patients treatment plan require a boost.

Brachytherapy or Implant: Internal radiation therapy that involves placing radioactive sources inside or next to a tumor. 

Cancer: A group of diseases in which abnormal cells divide uncontrollably, forming a tumor or mass.  

CBCT:   It is a type of image guided radiation therapy that allows the therapist and doctor to compare the daily scan to the original treatment planning images.  This imaging helps determine how precisely focused the radiation setup is.  They can then make position adjustments if necessary to deliver a more targeted therapy to the patient. 

CBCT involves the use of a CT scanner built into the linear accelerator.  Images taken just prior to radiation treatment allow the radiation therapist and oncologist to correct any variation between intended and actual setup position.  CT is anatomically more detailed than x-rays and sometimes cbct is used instead of x-ray imaging when extreme precision of treatment is needed.  It is important to note they are not diagnostic scans.

Clinical Trials: Studies that test new cancer therapies.

CT or CAT scan - A computer assisted tomography scan is an imaging study that uses X-rays and a computer to produce detailed pictures of the body.

High-dose-rate remote afterloading or HDR - A brachytherapy treatment delivering radiation with a small, intense radioactive source on the tip of a flexible wire inserted into hollow tubes placed into or near a tumor by a radiation oncologist.

Image-guided Radiation Therapy or IGRT: A radiation treatment guided by imaging equipment, such as CT or x-rays, taken in the treatment room just before radiation is given. 

Imaging: A generic term for any type of x-ray imaging, may also be called picture, film, x-ray or ports

Immobilization Device: A device that is used to help a patient remain in the same position during every treatment. 

Intensity-modulated Radiation Therapy or IMRT: IMRT is a specialized form of external beam therapy that can help improve how the radiation is shaped to fit your tumor. 

KV Image:  An image made with low energy x-rays designed to highlight certain anatomy

Linear Accelerator or Linac: The most common type of machine used to deliver external radiation therapy. 

Metastasis: Cancer that has spread from one part f the body to another, such as from the breast to the lymph nodes or bones. 

Multileaf Collimator or MLC: A part of a linear accelerator that is used to shape the radiation beam. 

MV Image:  An image made with high energy x-rays designed to highlight certain anatomy

Palliative Care or Palliation: Treatment that is intended to relieve symptoms, but not cure disease. 

PET scan: A positron emission tomography scan uses a small dose of a chemical called a radionuclide combined with a sugar, which is injected into the patient. The radionuclide emits positrons. The PET scanner detects the positron emissions given off by the radionuclide.

Port Films: X-rays that verify the center of the radiation beams used to treat cancer. They are used to verify the position of the beams and patient setup to confirm that treatment is delivered to the right place. 

Radiation Oncologist: A doctor who specializes in treatment cancer and other diseases with radiation therapy. 

Radiation Oncology: The medical specialty that deals with treating cancer and other diseases with radiation.

Radiation Therapy - Also called radiotherapy or irradiation, it is the careful use of various forms of radiation to treat cancer and other diseases. 

Simulation: A special treatment planning CT scan that is done to help with the treatment planning. This CT scan is in addition to prior diagnostic CT scans and helps with designing the placement and shape of the radiation beams.  During simulation your radiation team will place you on the simulation machine in the exact position you will maintain during the actual treatment.

Treatment Plan: A radiation oncologist’s prescription describing how a patient should be treated with radiation therapy. The radiation oncology team uses special software to maximize radiation to the tumor while sparing healthy tissue.