Radiotherapy

[ 最後編寫日期:2015/09/12 ]

 

Surgery, radiotherapy and chemo target therapy are now the three main modalities to treat cancers.  Increasing the local control and improving the survival rate without compromising the patient’s quality of life are the key focuses for our radiation oncology team.  We also keep ourselves updated on advances in medical technology and equipment, such as the use of linear accelerators in the place of cobalt-60, or the evolvement from the 2-dimentional to 3-dimentional and then the latest intensity modulated Radiation Therapy.

Radiation therapy works by damaging the DNA of the cancerous cells directly with high power radiation, which will cause direct or indirect ionization (damage) of the atoms which make up the DNA chain, and as a result, the death of the cells.

Because all cells have a mechanism for self repairing, the cancerous cells will try to repair the damage until the damage from the radiation therapy is too great for the repair; then the cells will start to diminish or reproduce more slowly.  This is why it always takes a few days to a few weeks to observe the treatment result; and by the same token, this is also why the tumors will continue to shrink even after the therapy ends.  The imaging evaluation to assess the treatment result usually takes place one to three months after the radiation for that same reason. 

 

RT treatment planning and preparation:

Before radiation treatments begin, patient will go through a treatment planning process called "simulation" where a map of the exact treated area on the body, referred to as the treatment field(s), is created to separate the area of tumor from that of the normal tissues . Throughout the process, a stabilizing device called “alpha cradle” will be made and marking on the patient’s body will be done as well to ensure comfort for the patient and accuracy of the treatment.  The whole process may take up to an hour or two.

A special computerized tomographic (CT) scanner will be used to precisely locate the tumor and identify the normal tissues area, so the doctor can determine the most appropriate beam angle to stay clear of the normal tissues, and also calculate the maximum doses targeting the tumor and minimum around the normal tissues.  This portion of treatment planning may take 5 working days after which the patient will be asked to come in again for confirmation of the treatment planning.  Upon completion of the planning, which means the mapping is consistent with the disease area, the 5-8 weeks of therapy will commence. 


The radiation therapy is done every day from Monday to Friday at the same time selected by patient.  The patient will be the only person in the treatment room, and will be asked to remain relaxed and hold still the entire time.  During the 5- 8 weeks of therapy , there will be weekly out-patient visits with the attending physician who will examine and manage the side effects.    

Before, during, and after the radiotherapy, our nursing team and special care managers will assist you with patient education. Meanwhile other teams such as the psychiatry team and social workers will be involved to maximize the treatment effects and minimize the side effects. 

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