What is Radiation Therapy
Radiation Therapy is one of the most common treatments for cancer. Also known as radiotherapy, this method of treatment uses high-energy photon beams or waves, such as x-rays, gamma rays or protons to destroy cancer cells. Radiation Therapy can be used as a standalone treatment or in combination with other therapies.
Radiation Therapy affects only the part of the body being treated. Great care is taken to ensure that the surrounding healthy cells are harmed as little as possible. Healthy cells that are affected during the treatment are able to repair themselves.
Types of Radiation Therapy
3D Conformal Radiation Therapy
This technique uses 3-dimensional scans to determine the exact shape and size of the tumour. The radiation beams are customised to fit the shape of the tumour, minimising the side effects to healthy tissue.
Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)
Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) is the use of imaging during radiation therapy to improve the precision and accuracy of treatment delivery. IGRT is used to treat tumors in areas of the body that move, such as the lungs and liver. Radiation therapy machines are equipped with imaging technology to allow your doctor to image the tumour before and during treatment. By comparing these images to the reference images taken during simulation, the patient’s position may be adjusted to more precisely target the radiation dose to the tumour.
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
Intensity modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) is a type of conformal radiation, which shapes radiation beams to closely approximate the shape of the tumor. The intensity of the radiation in IMRT can be changed during treatment to spare more adjoining normal tissue than is spared during conventional radiation therapy. Because of this an increased dose of radiation can be delivered to the tumor using IMRT.
Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)
Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) is a radiation therapy approach which delivers high dose radiation to a target within the body, usually up to five treatment sessions. It is able to determine the beam direction and intensity using the treatment-planning software, accounting for tumour motion and anatomy changes during the treatment procedure.
Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS)
Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) is a type of radiotherapy that allows precise and high dose radiation beams to be delivered to a small, localised area of the body, mostly in the brain to destroy a lesion with a single radiation dose.
Reasons to choose CIH for your Radiation Therapy Treatment
- We have a dedicated, reliable and professional Radiation Therapy team who is able to support our patients.
- Our Radiation Therapy Centre, starting from our linear accelerator – the Elekta Infinity – to our clinical processes and quality assurance testings, as well as our radiation treatment protocols are certified by The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center.
- This ensures that you will receive safe and effective treatment (of MD Anderson’s standards) at CIH. The environment we promise is one that is personalised, comfortable and private.
Side Effects of Radiation Therapy
CIH's Radiation Therapy Patient Journey
Our Radiation Oncologist will have a consultation session with you and answer any questions that you might have. After consultation, you will be advised on the date for your Computed Tomography (CT) simulation.
COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY (CT) SIMULATION DAY
The purpose of a CT Simulation is for the Radiation Therapy (RT) team to determine the location and size of the tumour for computerised radiation treatment planning.
During the simulation, the RT team will set you up in your treatment position and make markings on your skin to ensure reproducibility. When required, IV contrast will be administered. After the simulation, you will be informed of the date of your first treatment.
RADIATION TREATMENT DAY ONE
On arrival, you will be received by the team for a pre-treatment briefing. The process will be explained in detail to you before the first treatment commences.
RADIATION TREATMENT CAN LAST 1 TO 8 WEEKS
Depending on the type of tumour and the course that the Radiation Oncologist prescribes, the treatment can be given daily, 5 days per week for a period of 1 to 8 weeks.
Our Radiation Oncologist will have weekly on-treatment consultations with you to ensure you are tolerating the treatment well and also answer any questions you might have.
RADIATION TREATMENT LAST DAY
After the last session of the treatment, you will be informed of the follow-up consultation appointment date.
To celebrate the completion of your treatment journey, you will be invited to strike the “Gong of Hope” as a symbol of a new beginning.
FOLLOW UP WITH SPECIALIST
Follow up appointments with the Radiation Oncologists involve monitoring of your recovery and watching for side effects which may not happen immediately. As your body recovers, you will require fewer follow-up visits.
Our Radiation Therapy (RT) team is equipped to assist our patients in every part of the journey.
The RT team consists of:
They are specialists in oncology who oversee the patient’s radiation therapy treatments.
They work with radiation oncologists to deliver the daily radiation treatment on the linear accelerator under doctor’s prescription and supervision.
Radiation Oncology Nurses
They assess the patient’s overall well-being and provide education on symptom management. They will also assist the patient to cope with changes by providing physical and psychological support throughout the entire treatment process.
They work with the Radiation Oncologist to design the best and personalised treatment plans. The Radiation Physicist is also in-charge of the safety aspects of RT equipment.