Treatments and Technology

3D Conformal Radiation Therapy


Overview


Three-dimensional (3D) conformal radiation therapy is a technique where the beams of radiation used in treatment are shaped to match the tumor.

Previously, radiation treatment matched the height and width of the tumor, meaning that healthy tissue was exposed to the beams. Advances in imaging technology have made it possible to locate and treat the tumor more precisely.  Conformal radiation therapy uses the targeting information to focus precisely on the tumor, while avoiding the healthy surrounding tissue. This exact targeting makes it possible to use higher levels of radiation in treatment, which are more effective in shrinking and killing tumors.  Three-dimensional conformal therapy is, in many ways, similar to intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT); both are used to target cancer while sparing healthy tissue.

The radiation oncologist will determine which therapy is best for you, depending on your tumor’s shape and location.  Radiation oncologists use linear accelerators to deliver external beam therapy. Your radiation oncologist will determine the equipment most suited to your treatment. The linear accelerator is the most commonly used device for external beam therapy.

 

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