EBRT uses highly sophisticated systems to irradiate tumors from outside
the body. It is a powerful weapon against many different types of cancer.
In some cases EBRT is applied as a standalone radiation treatment. In
others, it is recommended either before or after surgery.
If you and your team decide on EBRT, there are several different technology
options available. These are:
3D-Conformal Radiation Therapy
3D-Conformal Radiation Therapy is one of the most common forms of external
radiation therapy. The delivery system uses a "multi-leaf collimator"
to literally shape, or conform, the radiation beam to the tumor. This
enables your Radiation Oncologist to prescribe a higher, more effective
dosage amount while minimizing the risk of side effects.
Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
IMRT is another type of external radiation therapy that uses thousands
of radiation “beamlets” from many different angles to deliver
radiation to your tumor. These deliver a precisely focused dose of radiation
to the prescribed target while minimizing damage to surrounding, normal tissue.
It is very important that you lie in exactly the same position for each
treatment session. You may be custom-fitted for a mold that will be used
to position you correctly on the treatment table. You may also be tattooed
with freckle-like marks that will help the Radiation Therapist precisely
target the radiation beams.
During each EBRT session you will lie on the treatment table and your Radiation
Therapist may use imaging to confirm your exact position. Minor adjustments
may be made to the table to ensure exact targeting of the tumor. The radiation
delivery system then moves in a circular motion around you; delivering
beams from different angles and intensities, shaping them around the tumor.
Each treatment session lasts from 10 to 15 minutes. Typically, you will
be scheduled for five sessions a week for five to eight weeks. The sessions
are pain-free and require no sedation so you can return to your normal
activities right away.