Radiation Oncology

What is Radiation Oncology?

A medical specialty that generates use of various types of emission for treating cancer and other diseases is known as radiation oncology. The treatment has verified itself as a powerful weapon to fight against cancer and results in increased number of cancer cures. High-energy radiation is used for shrinking and destroying cancer cells. The various types of radiation used for treating cancer combine charged particles, x-rays and gamma rays. The consignment of this radiation can be done either from a radioactive material placed into the body close to cancer cells (Brachytherapy or internal radiation) or through a machine that is placed outside the body. Radioactive iodine (a radioactive substance) is used in fundamental radiation therapy that travels over the body for killing cancer cells.

The different types of radiation therapy depends on several factors such as –

Medical condition and age of a patient

The type of cancer

Medical history and general health of a patient

The location of cancer in the body

Whether a patient also requires other types of cancer treatments

The size of the cancer

How far a radiation needs to travel in the body

Is cancer located close to normal tissues that are sensitive to radiation

Radiation Therapy Treatment Options

Internal radiation therapy and external radiation therapy are the two treatment choice for radiation therapy.

Internal Radiation (Brachytherapy) : The consignment of this radiation is done through radiation cause that are either placed on the body or inside the body. There is various Brachytherapy procedure that are used for treating cancer. The melanoma in the eye can be treated with the use of Episcleral Brachytherapy that makes use of a cause connect to the eye. A source is placed close to a tumor either inside the body cavity or in a surgical cavity in the case of Intracavitary Brachytherapy. The placement of a radiation cause is done inside the tumor tissue in the case of Interstitial Brachytherapy.

Brachytherapy can cause less damage to the nearby normal tissues and can be given either as a high-dose or a low-dose treatment –

The delivery tubes are connect with a robotic machine that are placed within the body guides one or more radioactive cause near or into a tumor in the case of high-dose treatment. The removal of these sources is then done at the end of every treatment session. More than one treatment sessions can be used in the case of high-dose treatment. MammoSite system is the best example of a high-dose treatment that is used for treating breast cancer for those patients who have gone through breast-conserving surgery.

A continuous low-dose radiation is given to the cancer cells through a source that may take some days in the case of low-dose treatment.

External-Beam Radiation Therapy : The consignment of this therapy is primarily done in the form of photon beams. A photon can be studied as a collection of energy and is a unit of light along with various forms of electromagnetic radiation. The energy of a photon also may vary. The total radiation dose is the determining component of external beam radiation treatment. 3-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy (3D-CRT) is studied as the most accepted kinds of external beam radiation. The radiation is delivered precisely by concentrating on the damaged areas by using advanced treatment appliance and computer software.

External beam radiation other procedure for treating cancer include –

Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) : Few treatment period are needed for delivering radiation therapy by using huge doses and small radiation fields. This therapy support in treating those tumors that lies outside the spinal cord and brain. More than one dose is used in this therapy for treating confined and small tumors such as lung and liver cancers. Cyberknife radio surgery is a kind of stereotactic body radiation therapy that is studied as a non-invasive alternative to surgery. Cyber knife can treat tumors based anywhere in the body with precise accuracy. There is minimum damage generated to the surrounding healthy tissues and structures including optic nerve or spinal cord.

Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) : This therapy produce use of a number of small radiation beam-shaping equipment known as collimators for delivering a single dose of radiation. The strength of the radiation beams can be changed at the time of treatment period by either moving the collimators or by manages them stationary. IMRT associate inverse treatment planning that delivers radiation doses to surrounding tissue and to various areas of the tumor. The needed number of angles and beams of the radiation treatment is determined by high-powered computer program. The ultimate target is to raise the radiation dose to the various areas and thereby reducing the radiation exposure to certain sensitive areas of nearby normal tissue.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) : More than one huge doses of radiation can be delivered to a tiny tumor in this process. This procedure makes use of extreme accurate image-guided patient positioning and tumor targeting. SRS is generally used for treating brain metastases, spinal or brain tumors from other kinds of cancer. The high dose can only be delivered exactly by using other equipment or a head frame for immobilizing the patient at the time of treatment. The stereotactic radiosurgery can be perfect delivered by using the latest tool known as the Novalis TX. This technology support to focus precisely and delivers high doses of tumor for destroying the tumor. It also results in minimally wound to the nearby tissue and can be operate faster along with other machines.

Tomotherapy: This is studied as kinds of image-guided IMRT. The appliance used by tomotherapy is a solution of external-beam radiation therapy and a CT imaging scanner machine. This tomotherapy machine can be regularly rotated around the patient and hand over radiation for both treatment and imaging. The precise treatment can be given as this appliance captures CT images of a patient just before the opening of the treatment.

Proton Therapy : Both Photon beams and proton beams can hand over external beam radiation therapy. The main characteristic between the two is terms of the removal of energy in the living tissue. High-doses of radiation can be delivered to a tumor by using protons that may assist in reducing the exposure of normal tissue to radiation.

Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) : A number of imaging scans such as PET, CT or MRI are observed at the time of treatment. These imaging tests assist to observe changes of the location and size of a tumor. It also implements proper adjustment of the planned radiation dose during treatment. The accuracy of radiation treatment can be expanded by providing continuous imaging and it may also decrease the charge of total radiation dose to a normal tissue.

Systemic Radiation Therapy

A patient can either collect or swallow a radioactive substance that combine a radioactive substance bound to a monoclonal antibody or radioactive iodine. Various types of thyroid cancer can be treated with the assist of radioactive iodine (a type of systemic radiation). The radioactive substance is targeted by a monoclonal antibody in systemic radiation therapy. The radioactive substance is then attached to the antibody that travels from the blood and finally destroys the cancer cells.

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