MRIdian radiotherapy for liver cancer
State-of-the-art technology that targets moving tumours and protects surrounding tissues
At GenesisCare, we provide specialist cancer care to thousands of people worldwide. We offer cutting-edge, innovative cancer treatments that are clinically proven to be safe and effective.
Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) is a highly targeted radiation treatment that can be used to destroy tumours in just a few clinic visits. The MRIdian is the latest type of radiotherapy machine capable of providing SABR and it allows the treatment team to see and adjust for tumour movement during treatment using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This makes MR guided SABR a very safe and precise way to treat tumours of the liver. This ground-breaking and proven approach is now available at GenesisCare.
The MRIdian is one of the first of its kind in the world. It combines a powerful radiotherapy machine (called a linear accelerator or linac) with MRI technology to produce live, detailed images of your internal organs and tissues during treatment. Worldwide, many thousands of patients have benefitted from this technology.
Tumours of the liver can be difficult to target with other types of radiotherapy machine because they move during normal breathing and are near other unaffected organs. MRIdian MRI-guided radiotherapy is able to turn on the radiation beam only when the tumour is positioned precisely in the treatment window and turn off the beam in an instant if the tumour moves even by a fraction – helping to protect normal tissue from unnecessary radiation exposure. No other radiotherapy technology in the UK is currently able to achieve this.
GenesisCare is an expert provider of SABR treatments and has invested in the MRIdian to offer our patients access to this latest, world-class treatment here in the UK.
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Benefits of the MRIdian for liver cancer
See with greater accuracy
Automated beam control
No invasive procedures
MRIdian radiotherapy for liver cancer
Having radiotherapy on the MRIdian may be suitable for you if you have liver cancer near to other organs, more than one liver tumour, or a tumour that is likely to move around when breathing. As each treatment can take over an hour, you must also be comfortable lying within the MRIdian for that length of time.
Your oncologist (a consultant doctor who specialises in cancer) will decide if this treatment is right for you by discussing your liver cancer diagnosis, treatments to date and overall health with a team of oncologists who are highly trained in delivering MRIdian radiotherapy and with your main oncologist or surgeon. By working together, they’ll create a personalised treatment plan that may include MRIdian radiotherapy, surgery and/or drug treatments. If they recommend MRIdian radiotherapy as the best option for you, your oncologist will explain the treatment in detail to you and provide you with written information about what to expect, as well as give you plenty of opportunity to ask questions.
If you choose to have your cancer treatment at GenesisCare, you’ll also have access to integrated cancer care, such as psychological support and wellbeing therapies, at no extra cost to you or your insurer. These therapies have been shown to reduce the burden of cancer and improve your quality of life, by helping to reduce symptoms and side effects of treatments and alleviate cancer-related concerns.
This is our commitment to offer world-class care to every patient with cancer.
All treatments carry risks, so it’s important that you discuss your treatment and any options you have with your doctor to understand what’s right for you and what to expect.
You may experience the following during your treatment course, but they will usually disappear within two to three weeks. Your MRIdian consultant will explain the side effects most relevant to you in detail before your treatment commences.
Common short-term side effects include:
- Acid reflux
- Temporary worsening of pre-existing symptoms
Uncommon short-term side effects include loss of appetite and diarrhoea.
These are uncommon, but may include:
- Stomach ulcers
- Stomach inflammation
- Duodenal (bowel) inflammation
- Rib fracture
Rare side effects include bowel or stomach perforation, bowel obstruction and kidney or liver failure.
Your GenesisCare consultant will discuss with you which of these you may experience. It’s important that you attend your follow-up appointments so we can identify and treat any problems as soon as possible. Your consultant and radiographers can also provide advice about things you can try to help, and no question is too small if you have any queries or concerns.
We know that living with cancer can be challenging. That’s why you’ll also be offered support through life-changing therapies, such as psychological support and wellbeing therapies. These are provided to all patients at no extra cost to you or your insurer, to help you manage the side effects of treatment and symptoms of cancer.
What does MRIdian treatment involve?
Here is an outline of what to expect after your initial consultation and before, during and after your treatment. There are four stages to the process: your planning appointment, planning, treatment and follow-up. Before your first appointment, your care team will call you to explain any preparation instructions in advance of your appointments and to answer any questions.
The appointment will last two to three hours and will involve a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan in the MRIdian and a computed tomography (CT) scan.
- Your radiographer will explain the process and ask you to fill in a safety questionnaire
- They’ll ask you to change into a gown and remove any metal objects such as jewellery, hearing aids, glasses or dentures
- You may have a cannula (thin tube) inserted into your arm to inject a dye that improves the quality of your scans
- You’ll be put in position for your MRI scan in the MRIdian. Your radiographer will make temporary markings on your skin and place soft pads (called coils) over your abdomen that help to produce high-quality images. They may ask you to drink some water just before your scan
- The scan will take about 30 minutes. You can speak to your radiographer through an intercom system. They’ll give you breathing instructions to follow to help minimise movement of your internal anatomy. You can also listen to music using special earphones
- When your MRI scan is complete, you’ll go to another room for your CT scan, which takes about 20 minutes. You’ll be placed in the same position as your MRI scan and given breathing instructions again
- After your scans, you can go home. If you had a dye injected, you should drink plenty of water to flush it from your system
Your treatment will be individualised to you so not all of the steps below will be applicable. Your MRIdian team will explain what will happen at each appointment.
You’ll need to fast for four hours before each session. If you’re having treatment to your liver, you may have a cannula inserted into your arm to inject a dye that improves the quality of your scans.
You’ll carry out many of the same steps as at your planning scans, such as removing accessories, changing clothes, getting into position and having the coils placed on your abdomen.
Before each session, you’ll have a new MRI scan which will be compared with your planning scans. Your treatment plan will then be carefully adjusted and optimised to account for any movement of your tumour and internal organs.
Your treatment will take approximately 75 to 90 minutes. Your radiographer will ask you to follow breathing instructions for around 20 to 25 minutes during your treatment using a computer screen to help you. You can go straight home after each session. You’ll be given contact details for your care team so you can call if you have any questions.
After your treatment course has finished, you’ll be referred back to your own doctor with all the information they need to plan any further treatment you may require.
Seven to ten days later: a member of your MRIdian care team will call to see how you’re feeling and answer any questions you may have.
Four to six weeks later: you’ll have a review with your GenesisCare consultant.
In the longer term, your MRIdian care team will continue to follow up on your recovery and wellbeing through appointments, phone calls and emails.
Our GenesisCare centre in Oxford is rated ‘Good’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC)