Tomotherapy

Tomotherapy is a radiation therapy that delivers precise radiation treatment to cancer patients. The tomotherapy combines computed tomography (CT) scanning with intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) to deliver radiation with high precision and accuracy.

The tomotherapy machine is a large, ring-shaped device that rotates around the patient. It uses a linear accelerator to deliver radiation to the patient from multiple angles. The machine also has a built-in CT scanner, allowing real-time patient anatomy imaging during treatment. This allows the radiation oncologist to adjust the treatment plan to ensure the radiation is delivered to the tumour while minimising damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

The tomotherapy unit delivers radiation in a spiral pattern, meaning that the machine rotates around the patient while moving up and down the length of the body. This allows for the radiation to be delivered continuously, uninterruptedly, which can improve the accuracy of the treatment. The radiation intensity can also be adjusted throughout the treatment to ensure the tumour receives the appropriate amount of radiation.

Tomotherapy is particularly useful for treating tumours in areas of the body which are difficult to target with traditional radiation therapy, such as the brain, spine, and pelvis. It can also simultaneously treat multiple tumours or those close to critical organs or structures.

One of the advantages of tomotherapy is its ability to reduce the side effects of radiation therapy. Because the radiation is delivered with such precision, there is less damage to healthy tissue surrounding the tumour. This can reduce the risk of side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. Additionally, the real-time imaging the CT scanner provides allows for more accurate tumour targeting, reducing the risk of side effects.

However, like all radiation therapy, tomotherapy does carry some risks. Fatigue is the most common side effect, which can be managed with rest and medication. In rare cases, tomotherapy can cause damage to healthy tissue surrounding the tumour, leading to long-term side effects such as fibrosis and scarring.

In conclusion, tomotherapy is an advanced radiation therapy technique that allows for highly precise targeting of tumours while minimising damage to surrounding healthy tissue. It is particularly useful for treating tumours in difficult-to-reach areas of the body and can reduce the risk of side effects associated with traditional radiation therapy. While it does carry some risks, the benefits of tomotherapy make it an important tool in the fight against cancer.

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