At Cy-Fair Cancer Center, we use a high-performance linear accelerator, the Varian 2100 iX™ with OBI (on-board imaging), and other technology to provide:
- 3D-CRT (three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy)
- IMRT (intensity modulated radiation therapy)
- IGRT (image-guided radiation therapy)
- HDR (high dose rate radiation therapy)
- Brachytherapy (internal radiation therapy)
- CT (computed tomography) for dedicated treatment planning
What is three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT)?
It is a process during which images obtained using CT (computed tomography) and/or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) are used to create detailed, accurate, three-dimensional representations of a tumor and any surrounding organs. With that information, radiation beams from a linear accelerator can be directed (conformed) using advanced multileaf collimators (blocks) to aim at a tumor more precisely than traditional radiotherapy and thus reduce the exposure of nearby healthy tissue to radiation.
What is intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)?
It is a more specialized form of 3D-CRT that allows radiation beams from a linear accelerator to be more precisely structured to the shape of a tumor. When the radiation beams are activated, each beam is broken up into hundreds of smaller “beamlets” that can be adjusted individually and can enable an even higher dose of radiation to be administered to the tumor site. The benefit of IMRT is that the amount of radiation delivered to the tumor is even more exact than before, minimizing the exposure that normal tissues near the tumor may receive. Collectively, IMRT enables oncologists to use greater doses of radiation and still limit radiation exposure to healthy body tissue. That increases the probability of cure while reducing the adverse effects and improving quality of life.
What is image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT)?
It is one of the latest technological developments in radiation treatment. IGRT provides real-time tumor imaging in conjunction with the delivery of radiation therapy. This is important, as recent research has demonstrated that many tumors and organs move significantly on a daily basis in response to natural occurrences within the body such as organ function and breathing.
To compensate for these daily changes, IGRT captures real-time images in the treatment room using cone-beam CT scanning or stereoscopic x-rays to verify and localize a tumor and any internal organs just seconds before every radiation treatment. The benefit of IGRT is that the radiation oncologist can make precise millimeter adjustments to the patient’s position whenever they are needed, ensuring an exact delivery of the radiation dose to the tumor and minimizing
the exposure of healthy organs and tissues to radiation.
What is brachytherapy?
Also called internal radiation or implantation, it is the placement of radioactive sources in or just next to a tumor using special catheters or applicators. By placing a radiation source close to a tumor, large doses of radiation can be delivered directly to the cancer cells with minimal exposure of healthy tissue to the radiation. These high-dose treatments can usually be completed in 10 to 20 minutes as an outpatient procedure. Brachytherapy is most often used to treat cancers of the prostate, breast, lung, cervix, and uterus.