The Radiation Oncology department at Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) is expanding the scope of treatment to better serve the cancer needs of patients in the region by offering three new cancer treatments in the radiopharmaceutical category.

Radiopharmaceuticals are a group of pharmaceutical drugs which have radioactivity. They can be used either for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes. The amount of radiation the body receives from these radioactive agents is very small and is considered safe. There are no known long-term adverse effects from such low-dose exposure.

Radiation Oncology Manager, Terry Adams

“We at the PMC Radiation Oncology department are proud to announce the commencement of radiopharmaceutical treatments,” said Radiation Oncology Manager Terry Adams. “We are now treating patients with new and innovative options including Xofigo, Zevalin, and radioiodine.”

Xofigo (Radium 223) is used to treat advanced prostate cancer by emitting alpha particles that affect cancer cells in bone metastases and may improve survivability. The energy given off by these particles is short-range, so it does very limited damage to the healthy cells around it.

Zevalin (Yttrium 90) is radioactive material injected into the bloodstream and delivered to certain targeted and neighboring cells in the body. It is used to treat certain types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Zevalin combines immunotherapy and radiotherapy, which are both very effective.

“Immunotherapy uses the immune system to fight cancer,” Adams explained. “The Zevalin regimen includes two immunotherapy agents. Radiotherapy uses high-energy radiation to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors.”

Radioiodine (sodium I-131) is a form of radiation therapy that is used to treat hyperthyroidism and certain kinds of thyroid cancer. Very small doses can determine if the thyroid is functioning properly and even locate tumors caused by thyroid cancer. Larger doses are given to destroy cancer cells and diseased tissue.

These advancements in oncology care are just another example of how PMC is working every day to bring the latest treatments available to the people of this region.

For more information about PMC’s services, call 606-218-3500 or visit www.pikevillehospital.org.