Broader use of radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is used to treat a large and growing number of cancers. A variety of treatment methods can be used, depending on the type, location and size of the tumor. All methods have the aim to precisely target and kill tumor cells, while sparing healthy cells in the surrounding tissue.

Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) - enables high targeting precision and accuracy using high-resolution multi-dimensional X-ray images of the patient’s tissue.

Image guided radiation therapy with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - provides high-quality images of tissue and tumors while treatment is in progress, and also enables adaptation of the radiation dose in real-time. The method is under development in the Atlantic (research project name) consortium, which includes Elekta, Philips Healthcare and a number of leading institutions.

Brachytherapy, also known as internal radiation therapy, involves placing a radiation source in or near the treatment area. This allows very high tumor doses to be achieved, while limiting the effect on surrounding organs. The method is typically used to treat gynecological cancer and prostate cancer, but also breast cancer and certain types of skin cancer.

External-beam radiation therapy - is the most common type of radiation therapy, in which the radiation source is produced by a linear accelerator and delivered by the radiation beam from the linear accelerator head rotated around the patient. By delivering the radiation from various angles, the radiation dose is distributed more evenly in the tumor without excess damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) - is an advanced type of treatment that uses multiple tiny beams of varying intensity rather than a single, large, uniform beam. The radiation can therefore be tailored to the size and shape of the tumor, allowing higher tumor doses while minimizing the impact on healthy tissue.

Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) - enables accurate delivery of radiation to a tumor and minimizes the radiation dose to surrounding tissue. This enables that small and medium-sized tumors can be treated with higher doses and fewer sessions, known as hypofractionation.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) - is typically used to treat tumors and other disorders in the brain. The method involves the delivery of a single high dose, to small and critically located targets in the brain. The method offers very high precision, with a minimum impact on surrounding brain tissue.

Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) - is a more advanced variant of Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT). VMAT enables the physician to control the radiation beam, dosage amount and speed of rotation around the patient, which enables faster and more accurate treatment.

Proton therapy - is a type of external radiation therapy. During treatment, a particle accelerator is used to direct proton beams at the tumor. Proton therapy is used for research purposes and to a limited extent, partly due to its high investment and running costs.

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