External radiotherapy consists in the treatment that utilizes high-energy rays produced by a linear accelerator, which are directed from the outside of the body towards the tumor precisely. This type of radiotherapy – external radiotherapy – is the most commonly used method for cancer treatment.
In order to minimize possible damage to adjacent tissues, combinations of one or several beams are calculated with different entrances to the body and radiotherapy sessions are usually performed on an outpatient basis that can be extended for several weeks.
What system is used?
During a session of the treatment, a machine will direct the X-rays or high-energy beams from the outside towards the tumor. As we discussed earlier, this device that is used is called a linear accelerator or “linac”. This system allows a precise delivery of radiation and, particularly, after the latest technological improvements, greater efficacy is ensured with lower radiation doses, less damage to healthy tissues is guaranteed, and the cancer cells are eliminated during the treatment more efficiently and in a targeted way leading to fewer side effects following this cancer treatment. It is better for the general health and well-being of the person.
The radiation technology allows an accurate administration of the external beam radiotherapy, perfectly targeting the area to be treated. The latest machines focus the radiation better, are able to act ultra-millimetrically and cause less damage to normal tissues, so that doctors are allowed to use higher doses of radiation – more effectively in less time.
When is it used?
External beam radiation therapy is generally used for cancer treatments either to eliminate cancer or in the cases that require the prevention of the recurrence. You can also resort to this technique for palliative treatments in the presence of metastasis or advanced cancer. In these cases, we discuss alleviating the difficult symptoms caused by cancer or the prevention of tumor growth, leading to the blockade of important or vital organs, rather than the prevention or treatment.
Types of external radiation therapy
3D radiotherapy allows us getting accurate diagnoses to treat cancer efficiently.
VMAT (Volumetric Arc Therapy)
VMAT is a type of IMRT, in which the radiation dose is delivered to the tumor with the treatment unit rotating 360 degrees.
Frameless fractionated stereotactic radiosurgery
A type of external radiotherapy that allows sub-millimetric accuracy acting only on healthy tissues. What makes its use perfect for brain injuries, among other reasons.
SBRT (Extracranial radiosurgery)
For small tumors located on the outside of the skull.
IMRT (Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy)
The intensity of each beam is regulated three-dimensionally. High precision to administer high and targeted radiation doses to a tumor. The surrounding healthy tissues are hardly affected by the exposure.
More information about external radiotherapy
If you need further information about our radiotherapy treatments in Barcelona, we invite you to contact us. Contact IMOR for any questions.