Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer
Cancers arising in the upper gastrointestinal tract are quite serious. Tumors of the esophagus, stomach, gall bladder and pancreas may be advanced at the time of detection, making curative surgery difficult or impossible. These cancers frequently require 5 to 6 weeks of radiation (with or without chemotherapy, depending on other factors), usually delivered after an attempt at surgery.
Radiation-sensitive organs are closely adjacent to these cancer sites. For the esophagus, the lungs and heart are in close proximity. For upper abdominal tumors, such as pancreas, stomach and gall bladder, attention must be paid to the liver, kidneys and small intestine. And dose to the spinal cord must be kept within tolerance limits throughout its entire length. The high precision of Tomotherapy, however, can make possible the delivery of an optimal irradiation dose to these challenging cancers, while keeping the dose exposure of sensitive, adjacent organs within their tolerance levels.
These cancers sometimes metastasize to the liver and/or lung. Although the liver and lung are both radiation-sensitive, it may be possible to use Tomotherapy to direct the tightly delivered irradiation to solitary metastatic lesions, while sparing the rest of these organs.