Radiation therapy is a very important tool in the fight against cancer with two out of three people with cancer undergoing some form of radiation therapy as part of their treatment. Radiation therapy uses special equipment to send high-energy particles or waves, such as x-rays, gamma rays, electron beams or protons to destroy cancer cells. It is used predominantly for the treatment of solid cancers.
Radiation therapy can be given in two different ways – from outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy) or inside the body (internal radiation therapy - Brachytherapy). External radiation therapy usually involves using a machine called a linear accelerator that directs high-energy rays from outside the body into the tumor.
The first use of linear accelerator in medicine dates back to the 1950s. TrueBeam linear accelerator is one such advanced machine capable of delivering all types of radiation like Intensity Modulated Radiation (IMRT), Image guided radiation (IGRT), stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT). These techniques use non-invasive tumor-destroying radiation to treat cancers throughout the body while limiting damage to nearby healthy tissue.
TrueBeam linear accelerators use flattening filter-free (FFF) photon beams to destroy cancer cells. An added advantage of using linear accelerator in FFF mode is the marked increase in dose rates, up to 1400 MU/min and 2400 MU/min and this will shorten overall treatment delivery time.
The high doses are delivered with precision and accuracy, resulting in the cancer cells losing their ability to reproduce and dying. Another main advantage of using TrueBeam linear accelerator is that its imaging system allows physicians to track the tumor during treatment, even when the tumor moves due to natural breathing patterns.
Key advantages of the treatment include:
- Shorter treatment schedules
- Speed and precision
- Painless treatment
- Minimal damage to surrounding tissue.