Innovative Cancer Treatments for Optimal Outcomes

Radiation Oncologists Jayanth (Jay) Rao, M.D., and Ravi Sandrapaty, M.D., lead a compassionate team that provides cutting edge treatment options once available only at major teaching hospitals and national research centers. The Ocala Community Cancer Center and its Florida Regional Cancer Centers affiliate, Cancer Treatment Center of the Nature Coast in Beverly Hills, Florida, is one of the first radiation oncology practices in the United States to offer a full array of the latest technologies available including 3-D treatment planning and brachytherapy.

“We offer state-of-the-art treatment for all cancers,” says Dr. Rao.

When he came to central Florida in 1994, local treatment options were limited.

Dr. Rao recalls, “This region of Florida lacked the technology to deliver the treatment reliably. We were the first center within a 100 mile radius to introduce Intensive Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT).”

IMRT utilizes 3-D imagery to conform the radiation beam to the shape of the tumor, minimizing exposure of the surrounding tissue and reducing side effects.

“Then four years ago we were the first with Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) for brain tumors and other cancers of the head and neck,” Dr. Rao says. “Only Shands Hospital in Gainesville was doing it at the time.” 

SRS along with Stereotactic Radiotherapy (SRT) are highly effective alternatives to the surgical removal of small malignant and benign brain tumors, for example acoustic neuromas. The desired dose of radiation is delivered directly to the targeted area with minimal impact to surrounding tissue.

High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy, literally “short treatment”, implants a high dose of radiation with pinpoint accuracy, and then withdraws the source of radiation, Irridium-192, by remote control. Exposure of surrounding tissue is reduced and potential side effects of permanent seed implants such as migration in the body are avoided. Ocala Community Cancer Center is the only local practice using this method for treatment of prostrate cancer. This treatment, as well as MammoSite HDR brachytherapy for breast cancer, is performed in an outpatient setting in a matter of minutes.

“Traditional forms of radiation treatment used since the 1970’s take six weeks of daily treatment or more. SRS and Brachytherapy treatments significantly reduce treatment time while offering optimal outcomes,” Dr. Rao says. “They are excellent options for the working mother or the elderly with no means of travel week after week.”

There is experience, and there is expertise. The Ocala Community Cancer Center offers both. Dr. Rao and Dr. Sandrapaty have devoted their careers to the study and treatment of cancer and have over 25 years of combined experience.

Dr. Rao’s extensive training includes two years of residency training in medical oncology and three years in radiation oncology. He also completed six years of residency in internal and geriatric medicine as well as two years subspecialty fellowship in gastroenterology. Dr. Rao is a member of the National Focus Group that sets the guidelines and protocols for prostrate and breast cancer brachytherapy.

Dr. Sandrapaty completed a combined accelerated BS & MD program at the University of Miami, internship at SCVMC / Stanford University hospitals in California, residency training in Radiation Oncology at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Texas, where he was also chief resident, and fellowship in Brachytherapy at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in southern California.  He is board certified by the American Board of Radiology, and he was also chosen to serve on its item writing committee which creates the certifying examinations. Dr. Sandrapaty is on staff at all of the Marion county and Citrus county hospitals including Ocala Regional, Munroe Regional, West Marion, Citrus Memorial, and Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center.

The Ocala Community Cancer Center team also includes senior Physicist Tom Sullivan, M.S., and junior physicist Anil Verma, PhD., as well as certified dosimetrists and certified radiation therapists.

From the qualifications and skill of the treatment team to the most up to date treatment technologies, the Ocala Community Cancer Center is determined to deliver the highest quality in patient care. Close coordination with the primary care physician and other specialists involved with the patient’s care bring all the professionals with their individual expertise to the forefront.

“Quality of care is paramount,” says Dr. Sandrapaty. “Compassionate support for the patient and their family are essential.”

 “Cancer can be frightening,” Dr. Rao says, “and people have not wanted to learn, or get involved, because they are afraid of that word: ’the Big C’. Now patients are becoming savvier. They are asking a lot of questions- the right questions. They are doing their own research. The more knowledge you have the more power you have to make the right decisions.”

Ocala Community
Cancer Center, L.C.
3201 Southwest 33rd Road,
Ocala, FL 34474
Phone (352) 291-2495
Fax (352) 291-2498

Posted in Healthy Living Features

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