Radiation oncology is the discipline that examines, through the use of ionizing radiation, the effects of radiation on the cancer, the behavior of tumors and also covers research in this field. Radiation oncology has two areas of application: Radiotherapy and Radiosurgery.
Radiotherapy (X-Ray Therapy)
Radiotherapy is defined as the treatment of the cancerous tissue or of some non-malignant tumors with radiation. It is also colloquially referred to as “radiation therapy” or “x-ray therapy”. The beams used in radiotherapy aim to stop cancerous cells from growing or to kill them. Radiotherapy is applied frequently in the treatment of cancer. As such, after being diagnosed with cancer, 60-80 % of cancer patients need at least one dose of radiotherapy.
Rapidarc is a high-tech radiotherapy device that reduces the amount of time patients have to undergo radiation therapy. It provides greater comfort and ease for the patient by reducing the length of radiotherapy sessions from 15-30 minutes to as little as 2 minutes.
Trilogy is a type of linear accelerator, or in other words a LINAC device, used in radio therapy treatment. The Trilogy device unites the various features found in other devices, allowing accurate intervention by specialists in the shortest amount of time and to an ideal proportion. This means the patient receives the most accurate treatment in the shortest amount of time.
Brachytherapy is a method used to raise local control of the disorder by increasing the dose of radiation applied to the tumor before and after external radiotherapy. However, it may also be used on its own for curative purposes in patients whose situation is suitable for such treatment.
In brachytherapy, radioactive sources are placed in the tumor and target tissues with unique methods, thus limitation of dose around sources is provided.
IGRT : Image Guided Radiation Therapy
IMRT : Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy
Conformal Radiotherapy : 3D Conformal Radiotherapy
SRT / SRS : Stereotactic Radiotherapy / Stereotactic Radiosurgery
Fields of Application for Radiotherapy
It is possible to separate radiotherapy in two main groups depending on the state of the disease:
In light of available information about the disease, it is applied in cases where the disease can be completely treated. It can be applied alone or with surgery and/or chemotherapy.
Applied in cases where it is impossible to completely destroy the disease. The goal is to prevent and relieve suffering and to improve quality of life for people facing serious, complex illness. For instance, bone pain suffered by a patient can be reduced by radiotherapy. Blood loss can be brought under control with radiotherapy applied on hemorrhagic tumors. The radiation dose given in this type of radiotherapy is lesser than the dose given in curative radiotherapy. The treatment duration is also shorter.
Radiosurgery (Scalpel-Free and Bloodless Surgical Treatment Using Beams)
The fundamental aim in radiosurgery, one of the fields of application of radiation oncology, is to direct many low-energy beams to the diseased area, and by focusing on the diseased point, to direct high-energy beams only to this point.
The aim is to shrink or kill the cancerous cells with intense beams while the surrounding healthy tissues are protected from the harmful effects of radiation.
Techniques Used in the Application of Radiation Oncology:
SRS / SRT:
Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS), which can be explained as the treatment of a specific target by means of coordinates, refers to the complete destruction of the tumor in one single session through high doses of radiation after 3-D coordinates of the target are determined. When this therapy is applied in more than one session (generally 3-5 session), it is named as Stereotactic Radiotherapy (SRT).