Radiation Oncology

Cutting-edge radiation oncology services: precision treatment for cancer patients

Hours

Monday – Friday
7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Appointment

(270) 762-1480 (Office)

(270) 767-3617 (Fax)

Location

Regional Cancer Center
803 Poplar Street
Murray, KY 42071

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How Radiation Therapy Works

Radiation therapy can cure cancer, stop or slow its growth or prevent it from returning. Radiation therapy kills cancer cells, shrinks tumors and relieves cancer symptoms. It may be your only treatment or it may be used to:

Shrink tumors before other cancer treatments, like surgery (neo-adjuvant therapy).
Destroy any remaining cancer cells after surgery (adjuvant therapy)
Kill cancer cells that return after previous treatment.

Radiation therapy can also destroy benign (noncancerous) tumors causing symptoms.

Radiation can be given over several weeks on in a single high-dose treatment (called radiosurgery). There are different ways that radiation can be delivered. Beams of high-energy X-rays may be sent through your skin, or radioactive sources may be placed directly inside your tumor (this is known as brachytherapy).

Radiation therapy uses high-energy particles or waves to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors. Your doctor recommends the best type of radiation therapy for you depending on factors such as:

  • The type, size and location of the cancer
  • Whether the tumor is near healthy tissue that’s sensitive to radiation
  • Your age, general health, medical history and other medical conditions
  • Whether you’ll have other types of cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy or surgery

What to Expect from Radiation Therapy

Your care team walks you through each step of radiation therapy. You receive a customized plan that outlines your radiation dosage, schedule and length of treatment.

We provide ongoing care to manage radiation therapy side effects, so you can complete your treatment as comfortably as possible.

Radiation Treatment Types

We offer several types of specialized radiation therapy, such as: brachytherapy, delivered in a high or low dose.

High does rate brachytherapy (HDR) uses a very intense radiation source, which is temporarily placed inside your tumor or near a cancerous mass. HDR brachytherapy is delivered quickly, typically in an outpatient setting. HDR brachytherapy can treat most types of cancer, including gynecologic cancers (cervical, endometrial or vaginal cancers), lung cancer and breast cancer. Sometimes HDR brachytherapy is combined with external beam radiation.

Low dose rate brachytherapy includes prostate seed therapy. Other treatment options include brachymesh, a surgical mesh that contains radioactive seed. The mesh is  used to treat lunch cancer after a tumor has been surgically removed. The brachymesh is sew directly over the surgical bed before your incision is closed. It remains permanently in your chest, where it treats the tumor site for several weeks before the radioactive seeds break down.

Image-guided radiation therapy includes taking an X-ray before each radiation treatment. These images allow your doctor to more precisely target your cancer – sparing nearby healthy tissue and reducing the risk of side effects. IGRT is especially helpful in treating prostate cancer, since your prostate is located close to your bladder and rectum and its position shifts frequently.

Our Specialists

Alexander K. Diaz, MD, PhD, CSCS

Radiation Oncologist

Dr. Alexander K. Diaz is a radiation oncologist and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association who joined Murray-Calloway County Hospital in August 2023. He received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Georgia and both his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, TN. While in graduate school, his research focused on pediatric brain tumors under the mentorship of Dr. Suzanne J. Baker at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In June 2023, he completed radiation oncology residency training at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC. When asked about his reasons for joining the Regional Cancer Center, Dr. Diaz explained, "I am a firm believer that getting care locally, in familiar surroundings by friends and family, is just as therapeutic as the treatments we offer. I came to Murray so folks in this community could stay close to home and get the care they deserve."

Alison Sasseen, APRN

Oncology

Alison Sasseen comes to MCCH after serving at various healthcare facilities in the region, including Baptist Health Medical Group Hematology Oncology as a nurse practitioner, Jackson Purchase Medical Center as a nurse practitioner in the Emergency Department and Marshall County Hospital as a registered nurse in the emergency room and intensive care unit. A graduate of Murray State University with a Masters of Science in Nursing, Sasseen also holds a Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Murray State University and has 17 years of experience in hematology and oncology.