Union Health

Appointments and Support Services

Appointments for Radiation 
Oncology can be made by calling (812) 238-7504.

Oncology Support Services 
can be obtained by calling Polly Fullom at (812) 238-7394.

After hours phone numbers
for patients with radiation oncology problems is (812) 238-7000 to reach the oncologist on call.

Location
Suite 100 on ground floor of Hux Cancer Center located at 1711 N. 6th St., Terre Haute, IN 47804

Click here for driving directions to Hux Cancer Center
Click here for driving directions to Union Hospital

Parking
Convenient patient parking for radiation oncology is located immediately adjacent to the Hux Cancer Center. Radiation oncology is on the north side of the new hospital building and parking is accessed from Beech Street or 7th Street.

About Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is the medical science that employs various types of radiation or x-ray to treat disease. Doctors who are especially trained in the use of radiation for treatment of disease are called radiation oncologists. Oncology is the science of cancer and oncologists are specially trained physicians who treat cancer. Radiation oncologists have 4 or 5 years of training after medical school during which they are specially trained in the safe and proper use of x-ray for the treatment of disease. The radiation oncologists at the Hux Cancer Center are board-certified in radiation oncology by the American Board of Radiology.

Uses of Radiation

Radiation can be used to treat cancer or benign disease. Radiation therapy plays a role in the treatment of 60 to 70% of all patients who have cancer. About 40% of all patients who receive radiation therapy are cured of their disease by radiation. Like surgery, radiation therapy is used for treatment of disease in a particular location. The benefits and side effects of the radiation are related to the area of the body in which it is used.

X-ray treatment is usually given in a number of small doses called fractions. By giving a moderate dose of radiation in a number of fractions over an extended period of time, side effects from radiation are minimized. When radiation is given to try and cure a cancer usually 25 to 50 fractions of radiation are given. When radiation is used to try and eliminate symptoms due to a cancer, a smaller number of fractions are frequently employed.

The ability of radiation to cure a cancer is dependent upon the location and type of the cancer. Some cancers are very resistant to radiation therapy; these cancers include brain tumors, tumors that arise in muscle and bone and tumors of the kidney and pancreas. In some cases cancers are very difficult to treat curatively with radiation because the normal surrounding tissues are very easily injured by radiation. An example of this is cancer in the upper abdomen where the adjacent bowel and kidneys cannot tolerate high doses of radiation. Some cancers are frequently cured by radiation. As a general rule cancers that are very small and localized to their site of origin fit in this category. An example of this is a small tumor of the vocal cord where radiation can result in cure rates in excess of 95% with excellent preservation of voice quality.

Side effects from radiation therapy are directly related to the location that is treated and the dose of radiation that is given. Acute side effects are problems related to treatment that occur during the course of radiation. These problems typically resolve within a few weeks after the radiation has been completed. Examples of this would be hair loss from treatment to the brain, a sore mouth or throat from treatment of the head and neck area, difficulty swallowing from treatment of the chest and diarrhea or bladder irritation from treatment of the pelvis. Long-term side effects are problems due to radiation that occur months after the radiation has been completed. Long-term side effects are predominantly related to the total dose of radiation that is given. The frequency of long-term side effects is also increased if high daily doses of radiation are given.

Individual radiation treatments typically last only a few minutes. Most of the treatment time is taken to reposition the body part being treated so that the treatment is given in an identical manner each day. On average the treatment machine is administering the dose for 1 to 2 minutes per patient. Individual treatments are painless. Patients do not experience any sensation during the administration of the radiation.

Benign disorders can also be treated by radiation therapy. An example of this is the treatment of incisions after removal of excessive amounts of scar tissue called keloid to try and prevent the recurrence of this painful and disfiguring condition.