Image Guided Radiation Therapy
Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) combines imaging and treatment on a single, fully robotic machine to more effectively pinpoint cancer tissue. Knowing the exact location of the tumor allows the radiation oncologist to target only the tumor, thereby sparing the surrounding, healthy tissue.
How it Works
While a patient is lying on the treatment table, an X-ray system mounted on a robotic arm is rotated around the body, to gather images that pinpoint a tumor’s exact location. These images are then compared with existing images (MRI, CT or other kinds of scans) in order to determine if the tumor is in the same position.
In using this precise, real-time imaging, the doctor is able to make on-the-spot adjustments in response to a patient’s slight body movements and subtle physiological changes—such as breathing, shifts in internal organs, even day-to-day shrinkage of a tumor that’s responding to treatment.
The Real-time Position Management™ (RPM) system, which will be available soon, will make it possible to deliver bursts of radiation to coincide with a patient's natural breathing cycle and further minimize exposure of surrounding healthy tissues. This enables doctors to safely treat lung and other cancers of the chest and abdomen, which move as a patient breathes in and out.
IGRT delivers effective radiation doses through more accurate targeting of the beam, reducing the target area receiving treatment, resulting in tumors getting a higher dose of radiation and healthy surrounding tissues getting very little. Higher doses have been shown to enhance treatment effectiveness, and better targeting reduces the possible side effects of radiation therapy.
State-of-the-art motion management techniques allow patients to breathe naturally during treatment sessions, increasing treatment accuracy, reducing stress and increasing patient comfort.
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