CT Scanning & Simulation
Computer Tomography (CT) Scanning & Simulation allows the cancer specialists to design a treatment plan specifically for the patient based on the size, location, and shape of the tumor. The patient will have three-dimensional images (CT Scans) taken. These are used with the treatment planning software that helps determine how to best deliver the radiation beams while reducing damage to surrounding areas. In some cases, it may be necessary to mark the patient’s skin with a tiny marker so that the patient is perfectly realigned in the correct position for every session of radiation therapy. The need for a temporary or permanent marker will be discussed with the patient before the simulation.
High Dose-Rate Brachytherapy (HDR)
High-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy delivers high-doses of radiation to the tumor area from within the body or on the surface of the skin. It is administered through an applicator tube or thin catheter that is inserted into the body or through an applicator that sits on top of the skin.
This process delivers radiation for several minutes to the specific area where the cancer is located, sparing surrounding tissue. The radiation is removed from the body, unlike low-dose brachytherapy which may stay implanted.
Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)
Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) combines three-dimensional images, such as CT scans, with the precise technology of either 3-D or intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) to pinpoint and treat cancerous tumors. The images allow the cancer specialists to precisely localize the tumor each time radiation therapy is administered. This improves both accuracy of delivery and safety by reducing radiation exposure to other areas of the body including nearby tissue and organs. IGRT is used to treat tumors in areas of the body that are prone to movement, such as the lungs, liver, and prostate gland, as well as tumors located close to critical organs and tissues.
Volumetric arc therapy (VMAT) is an advanced form of IMRT that allows a targeted, three-dimensional dose of radiation to be delivered directly to a tumor. The machine that delivers radiation can deliver the dose to the entire tumor in a 360-degree rotation, up to eight times faster than IMRT alone.
Seed Implants (Low Dose Rate Brachytherapy)
Low-dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy delivers radiation using a radioactive device or implant placed inside the body. The device delivers a low dose of radiation to a limited area over a period of 20 to 50 hours. It is one of the most focused, precise forms of radiation therapy and spares much of the surrounding tissue. LDR can be used to treat various cancer sites, such as prostate, uterus, or cervix.