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Treating Cancer
Knowledge is Power
 
At NICTC my treatment schedule was convenient and easy. It was so close to home it didn’t interfere with my whole day. - James
 

What Is Radiation Therapy?

 

When you are battling cancer it’s important to use the most effective therapy against your tumor(s). Radiation therapy is used to kill cancer cells and shrink your tumors. Radiation damages cells making it impossible for these cells to continue to grow and divide. Although radiation does damage cancer and normal cells, most normal cells can recover from the effects of radiation and function properly. The goal is to damage as many of your cancer cells as possible and limit harm to your healthy tissue.

 

IMRT

 

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) is a type of 3-dimensional radiation therapy that uses computer-generated images to show the size and shape of the tumor. Thin beams of radiation of different intensities are aimed at the tumor from many angles. This type of radiation therapy reduces the damage to healthy tissue near the tumor.

IMRT Therapy:
  • Divides each treatment field into multiple segments (up to 500 per angle)
  • Allows dose escalation to most aggressive tumor cells; best protection of healthy tissue
  • Modulates radiation intensity, gives distinct dose to each segment
  • Uses multiple beam angles, thousands of segments
  • Requires inverse treatment planning software to calculate dose distribution

High Precision Radiation Therapy

 

As the trend to higher doses, smaller number of fractions, and tighter margins becomes an important part of radiotherapy, better verifiable localization is a necessity. Image-guided localization provides this type of real-time high-precision localization. Based on implanted gold markers or anatomic landmarks, and electronic portal imaging, computed radiography, or standard port films - provides precise couch moves to achieve target alignment.

Necessary Markers

In some situations, image-guided localization is best achieved by utilizing implanted markers which your doctor may refer to as fiducials. Implanted markers are broken into two main categories - bone and soft tissue.

Markers are imperative in all situations where the target moves with respect to external marks (e.g. tatoos). Certainly prostate, liver and other such internal organs can be much more accurately targeted using implanted markers. In cases where the target moves in an identical fashion with respect to the adjacent bony anatomy it is possible to utilize the bony anatomy as the registration points.

Rapidarc™ Radiotherapy Technology

 

RapidArc™ radiotherapy technology from Varian Medical Systems is a new approach to image-guided, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IG-IMRT) that delivers precise treatments in shorter times than conventional IMRT.

RapidArc™ represents a major medical advance and is more comfortable for patients because they spend less time in their daily treatments. A fast, precise RapidArc treatment takes less than two minutes. Patients can be in and out of treatment quickly and return to their daily routine.