External Beam Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is a form of cancer therapy using high-powered x-rays to kill cancer. A specialized treatment machine known as a linear accelerator produces the treatment x-rays. The most common use of radiation therapy is external beam radiation therapy (EBRT). During a course of EBRT, the radiation oncologist tailors a unique treatment plan specifically for each individual patient.

The main goal of EBRT is to deliver a dose of radiation that is strong enough to kill the cancer but not so strong that damage is done to the surrounding healthy organs. Killing the cancer translates into the possibility of curing the disease. Sparing the normal organs means patients will experience fewer side effects. Over the years, significant technological advances have been made in radiation oncology. For instance, Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) and Image Guided Radiation Therapy are examples of the advances used to realize the goal of EBRT.

The radiation oncologist uses CT-based treatment planning to help visualize a cancer within the body. Sophisticated treatment planning computers allow your radiation oncologist to carefully define the cancer and its proximity to the healthy organs. The computer then designs radiation beams that actually conform to the shape of the cancer and minimize radiation to the area around the cancer. After the radiation oncologist decides upon the best treatment plan, the information is transferred to the linear accelerator to be used for treatment. The process of imaging the cancer before treatment, designing specifically shaped radiation beams and delivering a precise dose of radiation is the basis for EBRT.

Therapeutic Radiation Oncology works with a staff of highly trained, board-certified radiation oncologists with expertise in all techniques used in the delivery of EBRT. In addition, the board-certified medical physicists, certified dosimetrists and radiation therapists are all integral in the safe delivery of radiation on a daily basis.

For more information about what you can expect from EBRT, please click: Treatment Process.