External beam radiation therapy

External Beam Radiation Therapy

What is external beam radiation therapy?
External beam radiation therapy refers to a type of cancer treatment, which makes use of high-energy rays to target tumours inside the body. Because the rays are so accurate, healthy tissues surrounding the tumour are not damaged during treatment. External beam radiation therapy is typically administered in several sessions over a period of a few weeks.

 

What types of external beam radiation therapy are available?
There are a number of types of external beam radiation therapy. These include:

 

  • Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT)
    During this treatment, radiation beams are delivered from various directions to accurately match the shape and size of the tumour being targeted.
  • Image guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
    Before this radiation treatment begins, imaging scans are performed, allowing your oncologist to focus the radiation as accurately as possible.
  • Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
    During this treatment, the strength of the radiation beams is adjusted according to the area that is being targeted. Certain parts of a tumour may receive higher doses of radiation than others.
  • Helical-tomotherapy
    Radiation is delivered to the tumour at different angles around the body, allowing for extremely precise treatment.
  • Proton beam radiation therapy
    Proton beams are used to kill cancerous cells with minimal damage to healthy tissues.
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery
    A large dose of radiation is delivered to a small area of a tumour, usually to treat brain cancer.

 

How does the treatment plan work?

External radiation beam therapy is planned and administered by a team of experienced healthcare specialists. Your oncologist will explain the dose of radiation you require, as well as the treatment schedule best suited to your particular circumstances.

 

Before the therapy begins, your oncologist will perform a thorough physical examination. Some imaging tests will be performed in order to define the exact area of treatment, so that the radiation can be delivered very precisely.