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External beam radiation therapy

State of the art techniques that are given thru linear accelerators which produce high energy external beams that penetrate the tissues to deliver the radiation dose where the cancer resides.

It is done through an outpatient basis and although the number and length of treatment varies, it typically lasts 4-6 weeks of daily treatment done Monday thru Friday.

The process begins with the patient coming in for a consult appointment and then returns on another visit to do a simulation (also known as a CT scan). This is the planning process where a mask, mold or small tattoo markers are placed so that measurements can be taken to ensure the correct position for each treatment.

Types of treatment

This type of capability is used to better target the area of cancer by the radiation beams enter from multiple angles. This helps to reduce the chance of injury to nearby body structures.

Photo: A radiation treatment plan for prostate IMRT. Photo: A radiation treatment plan for prostate IMRT.

Intensity modulated radiation therapy is an advanced form of 3D conformal that allows doctors to customize the radiation dose. It uses multiple small radiation beams to irradiate the tumor. The radiation of each beam is divided and can be set to deliver different intensities to focus on the tumor to spare the surrounding healthy tissue as much as possible.

Image-guided radiation therapy improves the accuracy and the precision of each treatment by using imaging before and during treatment. This allows the radiation beams to be adjusted and provide a more accurate target dose to the tumor.

Deep Inspiration Breath Hold is used for breast or tumors in the chest patients to help decrease in radiation to the heart. By taking a deep breath, your lungs will fill with air and your heart will move away from your chest. During treatment, patient takes a deep breath and holds it for a period of time while the radiation is being administered.

Also known as motion management, used to target tumors that move with a patient’s breathing. It allows for the radiation oncologist to track the tumor’s motion so radiation can target the tumor precisely to limit damage to the surrounding tissue.

External beam radiation Photo: A radiation treatment plan for extra-cranial lung stereotactic radiotherapy.

Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT)

Stereotactic body radiation therapy is a type of external radiation given in fewer sessions with a higher dosage of targeted radiation. It will require longer treatment times which are typically done in 3-5 treatments over the course of 1-2 weeks.

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS)

Stereotactic radiosurgery is a type of radiation used to treat tumors and other abnormalities in the brain. It however is not surgery in the typical sense but instead uses specialized equipment to focus tiny beams, known as gamma ray on the tumor that come together to produce a strong dose of radiation of where it is being delivered.