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TruBeam LINAC with ExacTrac for accurately treating Breast Cancer

By Medical Expert Team

Mar 25 , 2022 | 2 min read

What is Radiation Therapy?

Radiation Therapy is the technique to treat tumours with the help of high-energy X-rays. It kills the Cancer cells directly or by blocking their growth as well as multiplication.

How is Radiation Therapy administered?

Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer is administered as External Beam Radiation Therapy through Linear Accelerator. It is a machine that generates X-Rays of preferred energy and intensity for Radiation Therapy. In this technique, the patient is made to lie down on a couch in a fixed position, possibly using some immobilisation system. For example, a thermoplastic mould or a vacuum locked cushion. The position of the patient can be changed through the progression of Radiation Therapy.

Is there any relation between the Radiation Technique and the case?

Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer is the same every time. It mainly depends upon the region that requires to be irradiated. For instance, for Early Breast Cancer, a substantially lesser region needs Radiotherapy. However, patients with more Advanced Breast Cancer (more commonly found in India) require an extensive region exposure.

Dose administration to the Heart in left-sided Breast Cancer patients is a problem. 'Deep Inspiratory Breath Hold' is the treatment choice in such patients, where Radiation Therapy is given in a deep inspiration stage of their breathing cycle. It helps in pushing the chest wall away from the Heart.

The Radiation Therapy can be programmed with a basic 3D Conformal Radiation Therapy when an easy target requires treatment, or with Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) when extensive regional nodes need Radiotherapy (for example, in Advanced Breast Cancer). 

The IMRT technique confirms that minor nooks and corners are not skipped with Radiation Therapy. Image-Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT) technique includes a Computed Tomography Scan to view the target each time prior to the treatment. It helps patients with intact Breast Cancer, where the current shape of the breast is matched with the initial one to ensure perfect delivery.

What is the time duration of Radiation Therapy?

For comparatively early tumour stages, the entire treatment can be finished within four weeks, including the booster dose. It might take up to six weeks for other patients based upon the advanced stage of Breast Cancer. The treatment duration is less than 10 minutes per day.

What are the side effects of Radiotherapy?

The side effects that arise from Radiotherapy are confined to the skin of the chest wall. The patient is found to experience mild redness in the skin. The same might extend to small skin regions or might even extend to larger regions in rare cases. These circumstances can be easily managed as these are only apparent erosions and can be treated using antiseptics while regular cleaning. A few patients might also feel pain while swallowing, but it is a rare effect that accompanies recent IMRT and IGRT techniques.

Written by:

Medical Expert Team

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