Cancer Treatments That Revolve around You. Learn More about Tomotherapy
What Is Tomotherapy?
Tomotherapy provides cancer patients with another option for radiation therapy. Its name is derived from tomography, also known as cross-sectional imaging. The Tomotherapy Hi-Art System® merges treatment planning, CT-guided patient positioning and treatment delivery into a comprehensive program called Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT).
Tomotherapy uses technology that is very similar to a CT scanner. During the tomotherapy process, the patient lies down on a special couch that constantly moves through a rotating ring which contains a linear accelerator. As the ring rotates, the linear accelerator sends a beam of radiation to the tumor. What is the advantage of Tomotherapy?
Tomotherapy uses a single, rotating beam of radiation, unlike other systems which may use up to seven fixed beams. With a single radiation beam, tomotherapy ensures that the highest possible dose of radiation is sent directly to the tumor. The Tomotherapy Hi-Art® System allows physicians to adjust the radiation beam to precisely target the tumor of each individual patient.
In addition, the Tomotherapy Hi-Art® System in Yuma includes 3-D imaging capabilities, identifying the optimal position for each patient undergoing radiation therapy. TomoImage® enables physicians to pinpoint the tumor’s exact location before each treatment begins, allowing adjustments to be made so that radiation is focused on the tumor.
How Does Tomotherapy Work?
Tomotherapy merges treatment planning, CT-guided patient positioning and treatment delivery into one comprehensive program:
- Treatment Planning — Before undergoing Tomotherapy, state-of-the-art 3-D imaging software identifies the exact shape of each tumor. At this point, the physician also determines the proper amount of radiation to use on the tumor, as well as suitable amounts for surrounding healthy tissue. The Tomotherapy Hi-Art® Planning Station then determines the proper pattern, position and intensity to use for the radiation treatment.
- CT-Guided Patient Positioning — Patient positioning plays a crucial role in successful radiation treatment. Before each treatment, the Tomotherapy Hi-Art® system enables physicians to take a special CT scan known as a TomoImage® to identify the tumor’s location and, if needed, make last-minute adjustments to the patient’s position. This is an invaluable tool, as tumors may shift between sessions, requiring a different position each time. The Tomotherapy Hi-Art® system ensures that every radiation session is just as effective as the previous one.
- Treatment Delivery — Tomotherapy is comprised of intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) using a spiral delivery pattern. Through a linear accelerator, radiation is rotated around the patient numerous times. A computer-driven device known as a multileaf collimator moves in relation to the linear accelerator. The multileaf collimator contains two sets of connected leaves responsible for controlling the radiation beam while the patient lies on the treatment couch, which slowly moves through the Tomotherapy machine.
While radiation therapy has been used as a cancer treatment for over 80 years, it still faces the same challenges:
- How can physicians ensure that the radiation is reaching the tumor?
- What’s the best way to minimize damage to healthy tissue surrounding the tumor?
Tomotherapy and our experience is the solution that sets us apart, providing our clinicians with the latest method of delivering radiation therapy.