Radiotherapy is a treatment involving the use of high-energy radiation. It is commonly used to treat cancer. Almost half of all people with cancer have radiotherapy as part of their treatment plan which is why Ramsay Health Care have partnered with GenesisCare who are world experts in the delivery of external beam radiotherapy. They are the largest private provider in the UK and Australia delivering 350,000 treatments worldwide each year.
At the Springfield Cancer Centre, GenesisCare has installed a state of the art linear accelerator, which focuses high-energy radiation beams onto the area requiring treatment.
Because external beam radiotherapy usually involves a series of daily treatments over a number of days or weeks we have provided free parking at our cancer centre or, if preferred, we can offer patients a free car service which can be used to attend as many treatment sessions as required.
Different types of radiotherapy offered at Springfield Cancer Centre
Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT)
IMRT shapes the radiation beams to deliver a dose that is sculpted to the size and shape of the tumour. This means that the tumour receives the highest dose of radiotherapy while minimising the dose to the surrounding area and damage to healthy tissue.
Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT)
VMAT is a very accurate type of IMRT. It works by delivering a continuous beam of radiotherapy in an arc which moves around the tumour. The machine continuously reshapes and changes the intensity of the radiation beam as it moves around the body.
Treatment sessions with VMAT are much shorter than without and are usually between just two to four minutes long.
Daily image guided radiotherapy (IGRT)
IGRT ensures that the radiotherapy beam accurately targets the tumour by using high-quality images to confirm the location of the tumour before each radiation therapy treatment session.
GenesisCare, use IGRT EVERY time they deliver radiation, adjusting the patient’s position if necessary. This assurance that the radiation is narrowly focussed in the correct area means they can increase the probability of tumour control.
IGRT is especially useful for tumours that can move between treatments such as the prostate, which can change position depending on how full the bladder/rectum is.
Deep inspiration breath-hold (DIBH)
DIBH is a technique which is most commonly used by patients with cancer in the left breast. By taking a deep breath and holding it while a radiation beam is delivered, the lungs expand and the heart is moved away from the area being treated, thereby reducing the risk of potential, long term cardiac side effects.
Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SABR)
SABR is used to treat small primary cancers that have not spread, as well as metastases (a cancer that has spread). Currently GenesisCare use it to treat lung, spine and bone tumours, as well as tumours in individual lymph nodes.
SABR delivers very high doses of radiotherapy to a tumour and can offer some patients longer disease and symptom control and an improved quality of life.
It can be used as an alternative to surgery, or where surgery isn’t an option, for example if a tumour is located in an area which is difficult to operate on. It isn’t however, suitable for everyone.
A full course of treatment is usually given in just three to eight sessions.
Internal Radiotherapy (also known as Brachytherapy)
Brachytherapy is where patients have a minor procedure to have a small piece of radioactive material temporarily inside the body near the cancerous cells. This will be performed by our experienced specialist team in our ultra-clean hospital theatres.
During a brachytherapy treatment, radioactive seed sources are placed directly inside the prostate gland. The radiation dose is delivered very near the cancer, greatly limiting the amount of radiation that is absorbed by other parts of the body. This allows for a higher dose of radiation to be given than is possible with external beam radiotherapy. Brachytherapy is a short procedure, usually requiring only one night's stay in hospital. Patients are usually able to resume their normal daily activities very quickly after having this treatment.