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Radiation Therapies

External Beam Therapy

This form of radiation uses treatment machines called linear accelerators. These machines produce ionizing radiation to destroy cancer cells externally to a defined target area surrounding the tumor.


This treatment applies radiation internally directly on the tumor location. Brachytherapy delivers a higher dose of radiation to help destroy the main mass of tumor cells in a more concentrated fashion. Abbott Northwestern offers high-dose brachytherapy (HDR).

Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS)

This is a one-time, noninvasive procedure that administers precise, high doses of radiation to cranial abnormalities. Stereotactic radiosurgery uses computer imaging to precisely locate the lesions in three dimensions.

Fractionated Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SABR)

This treatment method delivers radiation to isolated tumors in the body over a shorter course of treatment, reducing radiation exposure to nearby structures. The treatment course is shorter in duration. Ask your radiation oncologist if this type of treatment is suitable for your diagnosis.

3D Conformal Radiation Therapy

This external treatment has the ability to identify in three-dimensions the tumor and surrounding normal tissues and customize the radiation beams.

Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

In this form of external treatment, the radiation beam intensity is altered to 'paint' with radiation doses for the desired concentration.

Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)

This type of imaging occurs prior to daily treatment and matches structures in the body exactly with the CT images that were taken for treatment planning and sets the radiation therapy target at each treatment.

Volumetric Arc Therapy (VMAT) Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

Some tumors can be treated with Rapid Arc treatment delivery where IMRT treatment is delivered in single or multiple arc rotations of the machine around the patient.

Respiratory Gating

Respiratory gating is a treatment delivery method where the breathing cycle is monitored in order to spare critical organ structures from the treatment beam. Not all patients are candidates for this treatment delivery, as not all patients organs move during a breathing cycle.

CT Simulation

The Radiation Oncology Center has a dedicated radiation oncology CT scanner for precise treatment planning.

Cardiac Brachytherapy

This treatment is used for the prevention of restenosis - the recurrence of a narrowing of blood vessels. This treatment is delivered in partnership with cardiologists at Minneapolis Heart Institute®.

Radium 223

This treatment is used for patients with bone metastases, which are tumors that result from cancer cells entering bones. Patients receive this treatment once a month for six months.