Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT)
This treatment involves the delivery of radiation during a surgical procedure. IORT is used to treat some sarcomas or gastrointestinal tumors when external radiation techniques are complicated by sensitive structures (bowel, kidneys, etc.) that may be adjacent to the region requiring treatment. The Providence Cancer Center is one of the only facilities on the West Coast that offers this highly specialized technique. While the patient is under anesthesia, he or she is quickly transported (through a special-access route) to the radiation oncology department. The surgeon and radiation oncologist work together to carefully aim the radiation to the appropriate site while radiosensitive structures can be moved out of the path of the radiation beam. This allows a higher dose to be delivered to the region of the cancer without increasing side effects from high doses of radiation in the abdomen.