New Techniques in Radiation Therapy

Precision radiation therapy

Technology continues to evolve for cancer patients who need radiation therapy.

Radiation Oncologist Scott Tyldesley said this has allowed doctors to improve precision radiation treatment for cancers, outside the brain.

“It allows us to give much higher doses each day to the tumor and that allows us to induce some other ways of damaging the tumor cells. Some are to the blood vessels within the tumor, some is by potentially invoking an immune response in the immune system,” said Tyldesley.

He said precision therapy also allows them to give treatments over a shorter period of time.

“Instead of six or seven weeks of radio therapy daily, which is typical of a standard conventional course, we give these stereotactic treatments just as a single treatment or over a week, five days typically.”

In recent years, doctors have been using precision radiation to treat patients whose cancer has metastasized

According to Tyldesley, a recent study suggests these treatments might improve overall recovery and survival.

He said precision radiation therapy is opening up treatment options for patients that didn’t exist before.

“For some patients with lung cancer where they weren't fit enough for surgery, they weren't fit enough for conventional radio therapy because it treats too much of their normal good lung. We can use stereotactic treatment to pin point an area in the lung that’s a small tumor and oblate it.”

Additionally, it allows doctors to control the disease longer.

For cancer patients, that can mean reducing symptoms like pain and shortness of breath, potentially improving quantity and/or quality of life.

Many of these new techniques are available at the Cancer Clinics in B.C.