Process of Radiotherapy

What Is
Radiotherapy Techniques

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Process of Radiotherapy

  • After consultation, the patient will undergo a series of procedures.
  • Radiotherapy preparation is a painless process, involving immobilisation and image-acquisition (simulation).
  • The radiation oncologist then draws out the tumour to be treated and normal organs to be avoided.
  • A physicist or radiation therapy then uses advanced computer algorithms to calculate the doses and most optimal angles for treatment.
  • The radiation therapist will set the patient up and take on-couch images to ensure accuracy.
  • While on the couch, the patient lie still for about 30 minutes or less. The process is painless.

Talk to your radiation oncologist about your treatment plans to discuss probabilities of short and long term toxicities, with mitigation strategies.

Understanding Cancer

What is Radiotherapy
Radiotherapy, also known as radiation therapy, uses high doses of radiation to kill or damage cancer cells, preventing them from growing and dividing.

What are the potential side effect of Radiotherapy?

Radiotherapy, like many cancer treatments, can cause side effects. The specific side effects can vary depending on the type and location of the cancer being treated, the dose of radiation, the duration of treatment, and individual patient factors. It’s important to note that not everyone will experience the same side effects, and some individuals may have minimal side effects.

How can patient manage the side effects?

For short term toxicities, medications and lotions can be given to patients. For long term toxicities, prevention is key. Your radiation oncologist will explain these to you and review you along the way.

What is the process of Radiotherapy

Referral and Consultation:
Simulation involves the use of imaging techniques (such as CT scans) to identify the tumor and surrounding normal tissues.Immobilization devices may be used to help the patient maintain a consistent position during treatment.

Treatment Planning:
The radiation oncology team, which includes medical physicists and dosimetrists, uses the simulation data to develop a treatment plan. Treatment planning involves determining the appropriate radiation dose, the angles from which the radiation beams will be delivered, and the duration of treatment.

Quality Assurance:
Before actual treatment begins, the treatment plan undergoes a rigorous quality assurance process to ensure accuracy and effectiveness.

Treatment Sessions:
The patient undergoes a series of treatment sessions, typically scheduled daily from Monday to Friday. Each session is relatively short, lasting only a few minutes, although the overall treatment duration varies depending on the type and stage of cancer.

Positioning and Immobilization:
Before each treatment session, the patient is carefully positioned on the treatment table using the immobilization devices established during simulation. Image-guided techniques may be employed to verify the precise positioning of the patient.

Delivery of Radiation:
The patient lies on the treatment table, and the linear accelerator or other radiation delivery system is used to deliver targeted radiation beams to the predetermined treatment area. The radiation therapist operates the equipment from a control room, monitoring the process through imaging and computer systems.

Monitoring and Adjustments:
Throughout the course of treatment, the radiation oncology team monitors the patient’s response to therapy. If necessary, adjustments to the treatment plan may be made to account for changes in the tumor size or location.

Side Effect Management:
Throughout treatment, the healthcare team works closely with the patient to manage and alleviate any side effects. Supportive care measures may include medications, skincare recommendations, and nutritional guidance.

Follow-Up Care:
After completing the prescribed course of radiotherapy, the patient continues to receive follow-up care to monitor the treatment’s effectiveness and address any potential side effects.

How do patients monitor their cancer progress after Radiotherapy?

Via clinical examination and imaging modalities like CT, MRI, PET-CT and sometimes blood cancer markers.