Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment modality that uses beams of intense energy (X-rays) to kill cancer cells. It is usually combined with surgery and systemic therapy (chemotherapy or immunotherapy) to cure cancer, and also it can be applied to reduce pain and other symptoms caused by cancer.
The department of radiation oncology at KHCC offers the latest radiation equipment and advanced techniques, earning recognition as a regional leader in radiation oncology. Equipped with six ultra-modern linear accelerators, two CT simulators and a brachytherapy unit, the department offers state-of-the-art radiation treatment. Radiation delivery is carried through the latest image-guided arc therapy technique which enables our team to precisely administer radiation to the cancer while decreasing radiation to normal nearby tissues.
Radiation oncologists at KHCC are highly trained on the latest radiation advancements, and each staff is sub-specialized in one or two subtypes of cancer, which makes them experts in their field. Only large centers in North America provide same system of sub-specialization.
The radiation oncology department is also a reference site for Elekta®, one of main manufacturers of radiation machines in the world, providing world-class training on cutting-edge technologies. Moreover, our department offers training and logistic support for many national and international radiation facilities.
Types of radiotherapy
External Radiotherapy is the most common type of radiotherapy used in cancer treatment, where the rays are directed towards the affected part by a linear accelerator device. All radiation delivery techniques are available at KHCC; three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT), intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), volumetric arc radiotherapy (VMAT), stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotactic body radiotherapy (SRS/SBRT).
Internal Radiotherapy (Brachytherapy) calls for radioactive material to be temporarily implanted directly into the tumor, or near it, to kill cancer cells. At KHCC, brachytherapy is used to treat gynecological malignancies and ocular tumors.
Stereotactic Radiotherapy is one of the most advanced radiation delivery techniques, in which higher doses of radiation are direct very precisely to the target with the aim for cure or palliation.
What you can expect
- Discussing the treatment plan with your physician to discuss the radiation dose, and the number of sessions. The goal of radiotherapy, the expected side effects, and management technique are also explained.
- Setting an appointment on the CT simulator, which is a dedicated CT used to acquire layered image of the area to create 3D image for radiation planning. The patient is provided with instructions related to the process. In most cases, the process lasts for 30 minutes, and the radiotherapy team finds the appropriate position, ensuring the patient's stillness and comfort. Certain tools are also used, such as a plastic mask for the head. After that, the staff puts small permanent marks on the patient's body to locate and re-target the treated areas later.
- Treatment plan: Once the plan is set, the CT images are sent to a specialized computer wherein the doctor prepares a treatment plan and the radiation dose can be calculated, taking into account the protection of healthy organs surrounding the tumor, if possible.
- Receiving treatment: Each radiotherapy session lasts approximately 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the condition and the technique used in treatment. The patient lies down during the session in the same position that was determined during the simulation, then the device begins to rotate around the patient to tackle the target from different directions. The treatment process is painless, and the patient usually does not feel anything during the session.
After the completion of the session, the patient treated with external rays does not have any radiation effect on those around him, including children and pregnant women. The treating physician checks on the patient and monitors the side effects of the treatment during weekly visits to the clinic at the radiation department.
What are the side effects of radiotherapy?
Radiotherapy is painless, but patients may suffer from some side effects that become more prominent near the end of the treatment period near the treated area. Some or most of it may appear on the patient, and these symptoms include:
- Skin: a change in the color of the skin in the form of redness, peeling, or blistering and itching similar to a sunburn.
- Head and neck: headache, nausea, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, change in taste, mouth ulcers, fungal infection and hair loss.
- Chest: cough, trouble breathing, and difficulty swallowing.
- Abdomen and pelvis: loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, heartburn and difficulty urinating.
The physician prescribes the appropriate treatment to alleviate these symptoms, and they often disappear a few weeks after the end of treatment. Long-term side effects are minor and differ according to the treated area and radiation dose.
Education & Training Activities
- Residency Program
The radiation oncology residency program at KHCC was established in 2004. It is a four-year training program that is accredited by Jordan Medical Council for Board Certification in Radiation Oncology. Our trainees pursue higher level of training in a specific field of cancer in one of the affiliated institutions in North America and UK.
- Fellowship Program
The radiation oncology fellowship program is opened to those who have recently successfully completed specialty training in radiation oncology. The program offers both clinical and research training and experience. There are few positions annually that encompass all major tumor sites. We are welcoming candidates from Jordan and neighboring countries.
- Departmental Clinical Research
Research activities are highly recognized and encouraged by our department. We have published many articles in peer-reviewed journals, and our staff are actively involved in multiple national and international prospective clinical trials. Moreover, we have received several intra-mural and external grants for funding clinical research projects.
Our department has two locations within the center’s premises. The basement floor of Nizar Al-Naqib Building hosts 4 Linear Accelerators, one CT simulator, brachytherapy suite and 4 outpatient clinic rooms. The ground floor of the King Salman Building hosts two LINACs, another CT simulator and 2 outpatient clinic rooms.
- Dr. Abdelatif Al Mousa – Chairman
- Dr. Imad Jaradat
- Dr. Jamal Khader
- Dr. Issa Mohamad
- Dr. Abdulmajeed Dayyat
- Dr. Ahmad Ibrahimi
- Dr. Ramiz Abu-hijlih
- Dr. Fawzi Abuhijla
- Dr. Fadwa Deeb
- Dr. Nasim Sarhan
- Dr. Hamzeh Ghatasheh
- Dr. Hanan Almasri