Comparing Proton Therapy, IMRT, & the CyberKnife System


About Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy has been used for over eighty years to treat cancerous tumors. The traditional challenge with radiation therapy has been accurate tumor targeting while avoiding healthy tissue. This is something that systems like CyberKnife have allowed radiation oncologists to greatly improve upon. Another treatment option available to patients is TomoTherapy, which is available at our Palo Verde Cancer Center Scottsdale.

What is TomoTherapy?

TomoTherapy is a non-invasive procedure that combines precise 3-D imaging with highly targeted radiation for extreme precision in the treatment of cancerous tumors in the body. Because of the advanced level of accuracy during radiation delivery, there is less damage to surrounding, healthy tissue, which leads to fewer side effects experienced by the patient.

TomoTherapy utilizes CTrue technology. CTrue imaging provides the radiation oncologist with constant 3-D images used in patient set-up and positioning; it also takes into account patient movement during treatment. Because of CTrue imaging, radiation delivery is extremely accurate.

A variety of cancers can be treated by TomoTherapy including breast, prostate, lung and chest, head and neck, brain, and spinal cancers.

The Treatment Process

Before treatment, each patient will receive a unique treatment plan designed by one of our board-certified radiation oncologists. Each treatment plan is tailored to each patient and combines the use of 3-D imaging and special software that takes into account not only the tumor but also the surrounding healthy tissue.

TomoTherapy involves daily twenty minute radiation treatments that generally take place Monday through Friday. How many treatments a patient receives varies, but patients generally finish treatments in five to nine weeks.

Treatments are completely painless, with the experience being similar to having a CT scan or X-ray taken. Treatment delivery generally takes about five minutes, with the rest of the twenty minute appointment including the daily CT and patient set-up and positioning on the treatment couch. Some patients may be fitted with a special device for treatment depending on the type of cancer and specific treatment plan.