Radiation Therapy Treatments
Radiation treatments at Exeter Hospital are delivered by linear accelerators using a technique called external beam therapy.
Exeter Hospital's Varian TrueBeam™ linear accelerator is a highly sophisticated system designed to deliver powerful radiation with pinpoint accuracy, speed and precision to treat cancer tumors. The high energy x-rays are shaped to the tumor in order to shrink and kill the cancer cells. The incredible accuracy of the beams reduces the amount of healthy tissue exposed to radiation. This linear accelerator can also deliver the radiation more efficiently, reducing the number of treatments needed.
The TrueBeam™ linear accelerator can provide a range of advanced treatment techniques such as Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT), Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS), Rapid Arc ®, and Respiration Gated radiation therapies.
Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT)
Early stage breast cancer patients who meet specific criteria now have the ability to receive a nationally renowned one-day treatment close to home, eliminating months of travel, disruption and anxiety. Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT) is a breast cancer treatment option in which radiation treatment can be administered in a single dose at the time of surgery. This eliminates the standard procedure of five to seven weeks of daily radiation.
Before radiation treatment is started, x-ray films are taken and calculations are made to determine the angles from which the x-rays should be directed. These measurements are taken with a CT simulator.
During simulation, the area of the patient's body to be treated is marked directly on the patient's skin with markers. Very tiny permanent marks, or tattoos, are sometimes made to ensure that daily treatments are delivered accurately. These are also useful for future treatment planning sessions and treatment updates.