Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease that affects about 27 million Americans, and limits the everyday activity of as many as 24 million of us. It’s the leading cause of disability in the U.S., and about half of all adults in the United States will develop osteoarthritis in the knee by the time they reach 85, according to HealthGrades.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis. If you or someone you love has it, you know that the only treatment option is to manage pain and prevent or delay disability with gentle movement, therapy, and medications.
“Low Dose Radiation Therapy (LDRT) has been shown to improve mobility and lessen pain for about 70 percent of the patients who are treated,” says radiation oncologist Bobby Koneru, MD*, who cares for patients at the Leonard C. Ferguson Cancer Center at FHN Memorial Hospital in Freeport.
“The very low dose of radiation, basically an x-ray, can decrease the inflammation associated with OA, and we’ve seen patients who have seen improvement after just two weeks of treatment.”
“We’re among the first in the area to offer LDRT, which is non-invasive and painless,” says Dr. Koneru. A course of treatment consists of six separate, non-consecutive radiation treatments administered at the Cancer Center.
“The appointment can last from 30 – 45 minutes, but the actual radiation treatment takes about 20 minutes from start to finish,” he says. “There are no limitations to a patient’s medications or activities during treatment, and potential side effects are mild, including temporary redness of the skin.”
People over the age of 50 can benefit from radiation therapy as long as they have not received prior radiation therapy to the affected area. If pain and mobility haven’t improved by 8 weeks after treatment, a second treatment course may be recommended.
The leading-edge treatment is covered by most insurance providers, including Medicare.
If you’d like more information about LDRT at FHN, call the Leonard C. Ferguson Cancer Center at 815-599-7000.
Statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and HealthGrades.com*This provider is not an employee or agent of FHN.