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Radiation Treatment Techniques

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Intensity-Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT)

IMRT is an advanced method of delivering radiation to irregularly shaped tumours. Complex computer algorithms are used to design radiotherapy plans which deliver high dose radiotherapy to the tumour, while minimising radiation to the surrounding organs. IMRT has multiple applications, but is especially useful in the treatment of cancers in the head and neck region.
 

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Novalis Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Radiotherapy System

This system is used especially for eradicating brain and spinal tumours with focused high doses of radiation. An image-tracking (guidance) system is incorporated in the machine to ensure precise targeting and radiation delivery.
 


Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT)

This is equivalent to radiosurgery for cancers outside the brain. It may be used to deliver a high precise dose of radiation to a small tumour over a relatively short period of time, and is particularly useful for patients who are unable to tolerate surgery. Applications include treatment of small lung, liver or prostate tumours.
 

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Tomotherapy

In 2009, the TomoTherapy® Hi·Art® machine or Helical Tomotherapy was installed. It is a machine which combines IMRT with a computed tomographic (CT) imaging system. Tomotherapy allows radiation to be delivered continuously from any angle around the patient. It has the particular advantage of being able to treat large complex tumours/regions with relative ease, such as the whole central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
 


RapidArc® Volumetric Arc Therapy (VMAT)

In 2011, the RapidArc® Volumetric Arc Therapy machine was installed. Its main advantage is the ability to deliver IMRT in a very short period of time every day. This is highly beneficial for patients who have difficulty keeping still during each treatment session.
 

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Image guided Radiotherapy (IGRT)

Image guidance is the concept of using advanced techniques to identify the position of the tumour at every stage of the radiation treatment. An example is the use of 4D CT scans during planning to account for the movement of a lung tumour when the patient breathes. The radiotherapy machines are also equipped with imaging/scanning capabilities to ensure precise targeting of the tumour during treatment. IGRT is incorporated in most of the radiotherapy systems mentioned above.
 


3-dimensional (3D) Internal Radiation Therapy or Brachytherapy

Internal Radiation Therapy or Brachytherapy is another form of radiation treatment whereby one or more small radioactive sources are placed directly within (or beside) the tumour itself. This is most commonly used in the treatment of gynaecological cancers (cervix and uterus), but has also applications in oesophageal, lung, breast and prostate cancers. This treatment may be delivered alone, or in combination with external radiation.

In 2010, the division acquired a 3D image-based Brachytherapy planning system. This allowed for the use of CT and MRI scans to guide the placement of the radioactive source(s), thus enhancing the accuracy of the brachytherapy treatment.