How is radiation therapy performed in INNOVACIA Cancer Centre?
In recent years, radiation therapy became one of the most advanced methods of cancer treatment. Cobalt-60 unit, which was used in developed countries in the past, is being replaced by an effective and safe linear accelerator. INNOVACIA Cancer Center uses only high-tech treatment methods and offers all of the known types of radiation therapy. The use of three-dimensional (3D) conformal radiation therapy provides a 3D image of the tumor and surrounding tissue.
What are the advantages of 3D conformal radiation therapy?
High level of safety for the surrounding tissue: high energy radiation and the possibility of variation of the ionizing particles enable to significantly reduce radiation dose on the skin and healthy tissue.
High accuracy of calculation: 3D planning is a calculation of dose distributions using the three-dimensional model of the patient body and the advanced algorithms for conversion.
Minimization of errors: the positioning control system allows continuous monitoring of body position and eliminates errors in positioning during treatment; the IT-based data recording and transmission eliminates operator error or misinterpretation of data.
How is the treatment method determined in INNOVACIA Cancer Centre?
There are many factors affecting the choice of treatment. The driving ones are patient’s age, overall heath condition, type, stage and location of a malignant tumor. The treatment tactics is accepted based on a multidisciplinary evaluation by physicians of multiple specialties. Each case is individually reviewed. Therefore, even if cancer patients have the same type of cancer, the treatment of each patient is planned according to their individual conditions.
What treatment standards are adopted in INNOVACIA Cancer Centre?
The main focus of radiation therapy department of INNOVACIA Cancer Centre is the introduction of effective methods of radiation therapy aimed at the destruction of tumor lesions with minimal damage to surrounding healthy organs.
Head of Radiation Therapy Department, Senior Expert
Physician Radiotherapist . This doctor decides on the method of radiation therapy to be used for the treatment of malignant tumors. The responsibilities of this physician include patient supervision during entire treatment course, adjustment of the treatment regimen (depending on changes in the tumor) and analysis of side effects.
A professional team of physicists works on improving of radiation treatment methods. The objective is to prevent damage to healthy tissue. The advanced programming techniques and the use of mathematical models enable to achieve a high level of efficiency and safety in radiation therapy.
X-Ray Technicians work together with the radiation oncologists. They are the closest to the patient members of the team. X-Ray Technicians serve as a bridge between the physician and the patient by informing the patient of matters such as, for instance, the side effects of radiation therapy, actions that should and should not be taken, etc.
The duties of administrator include making arrangements on the patient’s diagnostics and treatment schedule, creating and maintaining database, advising the patient on treatment costs, as well as handling of the organizational matters of the inpatient staying and dispensary for examination.
The most modern Clinac 2100C Linear Accelerator manufactured by the U.S.-based Varian in 2009 is being used in INNOVACIA Cancer Centre.
The linear accelerator enables to irradiate tumors located anywhere on the skin surface and at any depth inside the human body.
By means of the Varian Linear Accelerator, we treat tumors in different locations::
- Breast cancer;
- Skin cancer;
- Cancer of uterus, cervix, vulva;
- Head and neck tumors;
- Thyroid tumors;
- Primary tumors and metastases of central nervous system;
- Lung cancer;
- Lymphogranulomatosis and lymphoma;
- Esophageal and pancreas cancers;
- Rectal cancer;
- Bone cancer and bone metastases;
- Multiple myeloma;
- Cancer of kidney, urinary bladder, prostate gland and testicular cancers.
The linear accelerator irradiates by means of photons and electrons. It features a multi-leaf collimator offers an opportunity to direct the beam on the tumor only, thus minimizing the negative impact on the surrounding healthy tissue. This is achieved by forming of a countering treatment area. The unit enables to choose individual treatment regimen for each patient.
Also, the unit features special holding elements that assure that the patient is positioned for correct X-ray distribution.
In Radiation Therapy Department, patients are offered the individually tailored treatment plans, carefully developed and well-coordinated.
The program consists of three main stages:
1. Medical Advice
The patient meets the radiation oncologist and other members of the radiation oncology team to discuss therapy options and treatment recommendations.
2. Simulation (Preparation for Irradiation)
After considering the oncologist recommendation for radiation therapy, the mandatory preparation steps should be taken. Such a procedure assures the appropriate treatment plan is accepted.
Among other actions, the preparation activities include fabrication of a customized fixture for irradiation (so-called mask) and carrying out CT and MRI.
During the simulation, the location and configuration of the tumor focus are determined, thus, the treatment area is identified. Next, the dose calculation is conducted.
The preparation activities assure that:
- the density of every tissue affected by irradiation is considered;
- the tumor will receive an optimal treatment irradiation dose;
- the damage to healthy tissue is minimized;
- possible side effects are reduced and complications are prevented.
The preparation for radiation therapy is administered 1-2 days before the treatment starts.
Radiation therapy can be carried out following one of the three approaches: radical treatment, palliative care and symptom management.
Radical treatment designed to fully recover the patient, that is, the complete destruction of tumor cells in the location of primary focus and the local metastasis areas. A radical regimen can be used as a standalone treatment plan or as part of complex treatment. In the combined method of cancer treatment, surgical or chemotherapeutical treatment is administered along with irradiation.
In practice, radical treatment is used at the early stages of tumor, when chances for complete recovery are high. The course of radical treatment averages at 25 to 35 fractions (irradiation is administered 5 times a week; 1 fraction corresponds to 1 day of treatment, 1 fraction costs 90 EUR).
Irradiation in palliative care is applied to reduce the volume of tumor and metastases. It is used in advanced inoperable cases. The irradiation is aimed at improvement of a patient’s quality of life, reducing pain and symptoms of intoxication.
As part of symptom management, irradiation is administered at the advanced stages. It is aimed to relieve heavy pain syndrome and also to prevent pathologic fractures when bones are destructed by metastasis.
In INNOVACIA Cancer Center, radiation therapy can be carried out in an outpatient or inpatient settings.
Your Visit to the Radiation Therapy Department
The following documents are required for medical consultation by the radiation therapy specialist in INNOVACIA Cancer Centre:
History of present illness (HPI);
Labs and diagnostics studies (ultrasound and/or X-ray examination, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, radionuclide and endoscope examination; pathohistologic or cytologic studies; complete blood test with platelet count, urinanalysis, biochemistry, coagulogram);
Past medical history, including chronic diseases;
Detailed statement of previous radiation therapy, indicating the name of the device, size and locations of the irradiation fields, single and total radiation doses, timing of exposure, etc.
The submitted examination results should be obtained no longer than 14 days prior to the appointment with the radiation therapist.