Technology in Medicine Radiation Machines Used to Treat Cancer
Table of Contents
Radiotherapy - A Constant Technological Progress4
Recent Technological Advances5
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)5
Stereotactic Radio-surgery (SRS / SBRT)9
Psychological Considerations of Cancer Treatment11
Fear of Recurrence11
Sociological Effects of Cancer Treatment12
Life and the Workplace12
Economic Questions and Considerations of Cancer Treatment13
Technology in Medicine Radiation Machines used to treat Cancer
Radiation therapy or Radio therapy is based on using ionizing radiation for the purpose of controlling or killing malignant cells. It is used for the purpose of cancer treatment because it has the ability to control the growth of cancer cells and thus prevents them from growing and reproducing. The treatment is based on the usage of ionizing radiation (X-rays or radioactivity), which includes gamma rays and alpha particles (Vikram et al. 2009). This action can also be exerted on normal tissues; however, tumor tissues are more sensitive to radiation and cannot repair the damage as efficiently as does the normal tissue. They are destroyed so as to block the cell cycle. The radiotherapy equipment is a healthcare technology and therefore must comply with the regulation of medical devices for marketing.
Radiotherapy is a treatment that has been used for a century and has evolved with scientific advances in physics, the Oncology and computers, improving the hardware and precision, quality and indication of treatment. Radiation therapy along with surgery and chemotherapy is one of the three pillars of cancer treatment. It is estimated that over 50% of cancer patients need radiation therapy to control tumor or as palliative therapy at some point in their treatment (Bourland, 2007). Beyond the medical advances, research against cancer is progressing in many areas. Among them, radiation therapy has recently undergone a revolution thanks to advances in medical imaging. Less toxic and more precise radiotherapy has been discovered in the 21st century (Salminen et al. 2010). The irradiation volume is becoming better defined and the surrounding healthy tissues are getting better preserved. Benefiting from technological advances and computer, radiologists can now offer a tailored radiotherapy.
Recent technology in the medical field has revolutionized several new Radiation therapy machines that use high-energy radiation to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells, which in turn can help treat cancer.
Radiotherapy - A Constant Technological Progress
Radiotherapy is most often associated with surgery or chemotherapy. It can be performed before surgery to reduce tumor size or after to eliminate residual tumors cells and to reduce the risk of recurrence. Although the purpose of this technique is to destroy cancer cells, it happens that healthy cells are affected (Salminen et al. 2010). It is this lack of precision that is the main cause of side effects. Thus, the new challenges of radiotherapy are to limit the radiation by defining as precisely as possible the tumor area and choose the radiation dose to the most suitable. To meet this dual challenge, radiation therapy has the incredible advances in medical imaging, computer and equipments.
With CT and MRI, the volume and extent of the tumor are better identified. Thanks to advances in equipment, it is now possible to reconstruct the 3-dimensional volume of the tumor and surrounding ...