Targeted Radiation Treatment For Tumors: CyberKnife and Tomo Therapy
CyberKnife surgery (CKS) and Tomo therapy (TT) are modern technological advancements that provide accurate and targeted radiation to one or more lesions or tumours in various parts of the body. Both these types of radiation treatment avoid damaging the surrounding normal tissues.
Modified linear accelerator is used in both methods of radiation therapies (CKS and TT). High doses of radiation are delivered in a series of beams from various angles that converge precisely to the tumor site. Both these options are carefully chosen by healthcare providers, which are an integrated robotic delivery system, with careful computer planning and expert planning from the team of radiation oncologists and neurosurgeons.
CKS works by focusing between one and two-hundred-three hundred radiation beams on a single point and is delivered only from the front and sides of the patient in a lying down position that takes about 30-45 minutes to complete. The main benefits include the fact that radiation is delivered painlessly and non-invasively without the use of anesthesia, incisions, or loss of blood and eliminates post-surgical complications. In addition, the procedure itself does not require an invasive head frame and can be carried out as a short out-patient procedure. There are no side-effects, thereby providing a quicker recovery and an improved quality of life. The patient can go to his/her work either on the day or within 24 hours after CKS.
Further, CKS also has the flexibility and maneuverability to treat lesions outside the brain including hard-to- reach tumors of the eye, head, neck, lungs, liver, pancreas, kidney, vertebral metastases, ovaries and uterus, among other sites. Studies have indicated that this method has comparable outcomes to open surgery and circumvents the possible post-operative complications.
On the other hand, TT is the most advanced radiation delivery system and provides treatment strategies based on CT scanning that can even capture 3-D images of patients’ tumors to check the size, shape, and location of tumors before each treatment.
TT is a form of intensity modulated radiation therapy in which the targeted radiation is delivered by rotating beamlets at 51 positions along 360 degrees, precisely only to the tumor avoiding radiation to the surrounding healthy tissues. This allows for additional accuracy in the treatment of tumors and achieves complex radiation dose distributions. TT also has the added advantage for “before” and “after” comparisons of treatment. This helps treating personnel to analyze if the treatment has to be modified at any time during the entire course of treatment. A typical course of radiation therapy involves a daily process, each painless procedure taking only about 15 minutes. TT is being used for almost all cancers and can be used for tumors that have been previously irradiated or cancers that may not be deemed safe with other forms of radiation.
Most cancer treatment centers evaluate each person’s cancer and determine the right treatment plan. Some patients may benefit with a combination of both TT and CKS especially in cases of re-irradiation to minimize the acute side effects of radiation.