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Our 21st century has moved us into a world of technology never imagined. The aim of our article is to move oncology nurses beyond the realm of external beam radiation therapy. We chose to present 3 modalities of high precision that are infiltrating the everyday world of radiation therapy. Stereotactic radiosurgery for intracranial brain tumors and brachytherapy for prostate cancer require an expanded knowledge base for nursing to deliver excellent patient care. Cardiac patients receiving radiation seeds is new in the world of oncology nursing. These patients are unique but they are now a part of our world. Expanding our knowledge base to include a radiation procedure in cardiac care does bring us beyond the world of external beam radiation. Patients often seek information from nurses. Having an understanding of the basic principles and techniques will enable oncology nurses to educate patients. The purpose of this article is to explain the procedure of stereotactic radiosurgery, brachytherapy for prostate cancer, and intravascular brachytherapy for cardiac restenosis. Our discussion will include selection criteria, potential sides effects and risks, and nursing care.
Radiation has been used to treat malignant and nonmalignant diseases for over 100 years. Today the combination of sophisticated equipment and brilliant minds in radiation oncology has revolutionized how people are treated. Our goal is to educate oncology nurses beyond the realm of external beam radiation therapy. Three modalities of high-tech precision radiation delivery will be discussed. Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for intracranial brain tumors will be presented. Techniques for delivering radiation seeds for prostate cancer will be reviewed. New to the world of radiation therapy is the use of low-dose radiation in the treatment of heart disease. These procedures all involve different patients with different problems. They are similar because they pull the oncology nurse into our high-tech world. These 3 procedures are performed in major medical centers in the United States and are becoming more of an everyday procedure in the community setting and beyond the United States.
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